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New Shoe Brands Tap into Private Label, Customization and Social Causes

There are many ways to create newness in footwear, and new brands—including some familiar names—introduced new collections and novel business models at FN Platform this week.

Shoes of Prey wants to help new designers get up and running. The brand, best known for offering customized footwear in two weeks, is stepping into wholesale and private label.

There are two areas where retailers leave a lot of money on the table, said Shoes of Prey co-founder Jodie Fox. When product sells out and when product sits. Shoes of Prey is addressing these issues with its ability to quickly churn out price competitive goods.

“We built the factory to run our own business and realized this style of manufacturing works for everyone,” Fox said.

And in the process, the company is breaking industry norms. For private label, Fox said the minimum order is one, which gives new designers access to placing orders. Meanwhile, Shoes of Prey can replenish goods in two weeks, or about six and a half months faster than most footwear brands.

The company’s wholesale collection includes the on-trend silhouettes and materials, including suede loafers, cap toe pumps, lace up booties, ballet flats and more.

For private label, retailers can put their own stamp on footwear in the same way consumers can directly with Shoes of Prey by selecting the best colors, materials and silhouettes for their customer base. “Retailers know their customer best,” Fox added.

Fabletics by Kate Hudson is entering the wholesale sector, too.

The direct-to-consumer activewear line founded by TechStyle Fashion Group co-CEOs Don Ressler and Adam Goldenberg and actress Kate Hudson launched shoes in September 2017 with footwear manufacturer ACI International.

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The debut collection offered women’s athleisure sneakers, slip-ons, high-tops and more for $54.95-$79.95 retail.

Jay Jackson, senior executive vice president of ACI International, said the company is now vying for a piece of the family retail channel with an expanded assortment of styles. The Fall ’18 wholesale collection offers more colors of fan favorites, including the neoprene Pismo as well as the brand’s first true performance sneaker.

New company Poppy taps into consumers’ desire for one-of-a-kind designs and brands with a purpose. The women’s crocheted footwear brand donates 10 percent of all profits to women’s causes.

The concept for Poppy’s unique look was inspired by founder Jaime Beard’s family-run home decor business. Each shoe is made with a hand-crocheted upper or crochet trims, meaning each shoe has its own personality. The collection spans ballet slippers and high-tops, to retro runners and slip-on sneakers. The line retails for $69.99-$129.99.

South African vegan footwear brand Bilberry Boutique has magnetic appeal. The women’s footwear brand made its U.S. debut with a line of ballet flats with interchangeable toe ornaments.

Shoes are sold with one ornament and retailers can stock additional styles as add-ons. The embellishments—more than 365 designs spanning leopard broaches and bows to lips and chiffon flowers—attach with a simple magnet.

Bilberry Boutique also offers a sandal model designed with removable uppers. A single footbed can transform from a T-strap sandal to a gladiator with a few simple buttons. The line’s wholesale price range is $12.60-$17.50.