A new direct-to-consumer accessories label is focused on disrupting the sneaker space after closing $1.2 million in funding.
Oliver Cabell, a men’s and women’s accessories brand, introduced a collection of contemporary unisex leather sneakers Tuesday. The company is best known for its transparent supply chain—an emerging trait in the D2C luxury sector.
Founder Scott Gabrielson said Oliver Cabell will focus on sneakers almost exclusively going forward.
Taking cues from sneaker giants like Nike, Gabrielson plans to release a new style every week following the launch of the initial collection.
“It demands a lot of creativity and work to design and get all the materials and production in place, but it’s worth it. Producing styles in limited quantities allows us to release more unique product and be more creative with silhouettes and materials,” he said.
The first batch of styles include the Low 1, an Italian leather lo-top, and the Rennes Trainer, an athletic retro-runner made with Italian full grain calfskin. Both styles are hand stitched and lasted in Albacete, Spain. Retail prices are $178-$188.
The company shares the cost breakdown of each shoe with consumers, from the cost of the leather, lining, and insoles, to packaging, duties and shipping.
Footwear is a natural next step for the brand. Oliver Cabell produces its accessories in the Marche region of Italy, the country’s hub for luxury footwear manufacturing. However, Gabrielson said the idea for expanding into footwear was a happy accident.
“We came across a set of old, dusty sneaker molds in our factory, and I thought it was a real treasure, and that we could make something really unique with them,” he said. “We decided to make a pair with the molds and after 22 samples, we ended up with our first sneaker, the Low 1.”
The brand applies the same transparent model it created for its accessories line to footwear. It shares details about its suppliers and factory partners on its website. Gabrielson said the company spent a year researching suppliers and interviewing factories throughout Europe.
Shoes are made with full grain leather from the Veneto region of Italy by some of the same tanneries that supply Prada. Outsoles are produced from iconic Italian suppliers Margom and Dami. Laces are from a factory that has been producing strings for 115 years.
“Our approach is fairly simple,” Gabrielson said. “To offer handcrafted sneakers using old school shoemaking and the finest materials, and then reveal it all, from factories to costs. For us, it’s all about the process. Ninety percent of our shoes are made with cobblers using simple tools. We then marry it with the latest technology.”