What’s Abuzz: Murmurs and musings from the latest trade show circuit.
What’s in a Name?: A branding statement, a consumer hook and maybe even a dash of humor, that's what. Here, experts spell out what makes for a great moniker, while retailers dish on what led them to their identities.
All in the Family: A born storyteller, Tom Romeo, CEO of Bearpaw, spins a career yarn rivaling any American Dream-like tale of success, complete with stories of fierce loyalty and never-say-die passion, with a few wild tales just for laughs.
Spice It Up: Experts weigh in on how to avoid tired retail. By Melissa Knific
Olympic Achievement: An eclectic trove of fashionable finds, Opening Ceremony takes home the gold for its ‘fresh, fun and unexpected’ approach to boutique retail. by Leslie Shiers
Talking Points: Fueled by the firm belief that everyone wants to be sold something, Angel Martinez, CEO of Deckers Outdoor, discusses why the portfolio continues to do just that: sell a ton of shoes. by Greg Dutter
Pioneer Spirit: Commemorating the brand’s 30th anniversary, White Mountain partners Greg Connors and Kevin Mancuso offer a firsthand account of how a small American manufacturer evolved into a successful worldwide sales and marketing-based sourcing operation.
Back to Basics: Streamlined and refocused, the summer trade show circuit gets back to business.
Duck, Duck, Boots: Forget hunting season staples: These women's styles come in all colors and heights.
Metal Heart: Feminine and masculine collide for androgynous looks. Photography by Aneta Bartos.
In the Running: Running is hot. Participation is up as many Americans have turned to a relatively affordable form of exercise, and many more partake in a growing number of charity-related fun runs and walks. Moreover, the industry is on the verge of a potential radical barefoot technology revolution that may change how people run altogether and, subsequently, the types of shoes they will buy.
Boot Legs: Ladies draw eyes to their gams in tights and leggings, from funky to chic.
2009 Plus Awards Winners: What business strategies and designs constituted home runs in a year when consumers were extra stingy with their dollars? Our 2009 Plus Award recipients detail their grand slams of the past year.
Bow Wow: No bones about it: Our Fall ’10 picks in the comfort category are poised to become man’s (and woman’s) best friends.
Stud Finder: Designers minimize their metal addictions.
Launching Pad: Charles Liberge, president of Klas Shoes—makers of Rotasole, Strolleez, KlasFit and Roc-A-Bouts—explains how rolling out four new brands in the worst of times turned out to be a smart move.
Just Say No: Retailers provide creative strategies for bypassing sales.
Show & Tell: I was itching to check out last month’s FN Platform, the market being touted as a “new national shoe show” by event organizers Magic International and Footwear News. After several seasons of trade show change, turmoil and confusion, I was eager about the prospects of meeting with as many industry colleagues as in one hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Moreover, a show billing itself as delivering affordable solutions for exhibitors was worth seeing for myself.
Members Only: Call it genius, call it a mind game—‘exclusive’ online luxury discounters are striking while the demand for bargain shopping is hotter than ever.
Mr. Nice Guy: Joe Ouaknine, CEO of Titan Industries—maker of Bebe, Betsey Johnson, L.A.M.B. and several other women’s fashion labels—continues to thrive based on his corporate rule of thumb: do business with nice people only.
Science in Stride: IT'S CALLED DNA, and Brooks reports its new technology makes its Glycerin 8 shoe ($130 retail) the first ever to adapt to each wearer’s individual running requirements, offering customized cushioning with every stride. Call us nerds, but this innovation lands high up on the Footwear Plus Cool Index.
Nation of Niches: Through localization efforts, major retailers look to win back a diversifying consumer base.
Hot Mesh: See-through fabric amps up the sex appeal.
Sneaker Fiends: Pristine kicks in neons and neutrals put extra cool in the urban swagger.
Sandals That Rock: The Bernardo sandals featured in the company’s latest ad campaign are “very rock ‘n’ roll” in design, asserts Dennis Comeau, head designer and president of the Houston-based line. And while that’s a key reason the model is styled in a leather jacket, don’t be fooled—that’s not just any leather jacket. It was once worn by the late Dee Dee Ramone, legendary bassist for the Ramones.
Sexy Boots: Our sneak preview of fall's boot styles.
Up to There: Dramatic over-the-knee boots become an everyday staple in wearable black.
As The Trade Shows Turn: The Industry’s Trade Show soap opera’s plot thickened with last month’s announcement by WSA that it has switched its February and August 2110 show dates in Las Vegas to directly overlap with FFANY’s show dates in New York
Put A Cork In It: With a sharp eye for style and unadulterated zeal for beautiful shoes, Steven Dann says he creates daily “Cinderella moments” for women at his eponymous four-year-old boutique in Great Neck, NY. He expects to replicate the magic with the launch of his own collection for Spring ’10. “If a woman is going to spend hundreds of dollars on a shoe, it better be special,” Dann asserts.
Doing the Right Thing: Rockport SVP David Kahan declares his mission to make the comfort brand once again ‘best in class’ among leading independent retailers.
Kemp’s Shoe Salon & Boutique: One woman's, Dotti Kemp's, dream bears a classic mix of fashion and hospitality like early icons had originally envisioned.
All About the Fall: Rug and toughed, autumnal colors, and the right sense of enthusiasm bring back walking to new levels.
Georgina Goodman peep-toe stiletto. Bodysuit and blazer by Shelly Steffee; Hache skort; Comme des Garçons hat.