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Retail Realities: Shoe Market in Williamsburg

Rivet’s 2021 winter issue has dropped! This in-depth issue examines the steps the global denim industry is taking to minimize its impact on the environment, from implementing zero waste production and design processes to establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

As a part of our Retail Realities series, Vamp is putting its ears to the streets of New York to find out what’s popular with footwear retailers going into the end of the year. This week we continue our conversations with Dana Schwister, co-owner of Shoe Market, located on North 6th St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The store carries over 100 vendors in just 500-square-feet, selling both men’s and women’s styles as well as shoes for kids.

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Vamp: Are customers coming to buy fall and winter product?
Schwister: We’re getting into the fall season and people are shopping for fall and winter. We actually just sold a pair of tall snow boots today, so the cold weather is probably motivating people.

Vamp: When did you guys first start putting fall product out?
Schwister: We started putting a little tiny preview of fall out at the end of July, but most of it came in August and September, and now we have most of our fall out.

Vamp: For this fall what footwear trends are you observing?
Schwister: Black has always been number one for us in New York, but this year we’re seeing some patents, some metallics, and some stingray patterns.

Vamp: What sort of silhouettes and styles can we expect in boots this season?
Schwister: We’re still showing a lot of the lower-height boots, but we’re seeing that people are getting interested in the higher shaft boots as well.

Vamp: Do you have any sales or promotions going on at the moment?
Schwister: We just started our first fall markdown, which was just some slower selling items. Some of them were probably just priced a little too high, and some of them have some style issues. But we’re going to try to maintain full price through November and then over Thanksgiving is when we’d start our first promotions.

Vamp: During the last few winters we’ve heard a lot about brands like Sorrel and L.L. Bean selling out and being difficult to find. Are there any ‘It’ boots this season?
Schwister: I think with the weather boots, when we have bad weather, we sell out. If we don’t have a heavy winter then we might have to move it to markdowns. We like the weather-proof Palladiums and boots by Sperry and Hunter, who just came out with these really nice waterproof leather boots which we’re carrying for the first time.

Vamp: What have been your best-sellers?
Schwister: Our best-sellers have been Chelsea boots, but with a slightly higher shaft that hits a couple of inches above the ankle, with a pointed toe. I think that shaft height is not so easily found, and the pointed toe is newer. We’ve been seeing the round toes for a while, so I think with the pointed toe shape, people don’t have it in their closet already.

Vamp: Are there any trends from last fall or winter that you expect to see less of?
Schwister: I feel like this trend of low boots and the Chelsea boot – all of that was happening last year and I think it’s continuing for this year.

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