Foot Petals Expands at Home and Abroad

NEW YORK — Despite a rocky economy, Tina Aldatz, president of women’s footcare accessories brand Foot Petals, has big plans for the coming months.

The Long Beach, Calif.-based company has developed into a $9 million business, and Aldatz expects to more than double that number by 2011 through a series of initiatives, including an exclusive and nationwide partnership with Target, a footwear license and concentrated international growth.

“The goal is to pump up the international sales and copy my U.S. business in Europe,” said Aldatz, who opened offices in Barcelona, Spain, and Paderborn, Germany, in March, and has been in talks with global footwear distributors to take the brand beyond the 70 countries where it is already sold.

Here at home, where Foot Petals can be found in nearly 5,000 stores and about 100 online retailers, Aldatz has teamed up with Target to create small shop-in-shops in the shoe departments at all the chain’s 1,700 locations, beginning February 2010. The company has been selling its accessories in specialized colors and shapes to Target since 2007 under the exclusive Fab Feet name.

The new agreement, said Target spokesperson Jana O’Leary, expands the Fab Feet line to include products priced between $5 for an individual item and $20 for the gift sets. “Our [customers] are looking for ways to stretch their dollar,” O’Leary said. “This line helps [them] prolong the life of their shoes [and] complements our current assortment by giving [customers] a trend solution for their shoe care.”

The expanded Fab Feet line, Aldatz said, includes about 50 SKUs of cushions and chemical shoe-care products and is set to be included in Target’s list of top 10 most giftable items, and also will appear online and in direct mailings.

Foot Petals’ private-label agreements, such as Fab Feet in Target, make up about 10 percent of the overall business, Aldatz said. Private labels have also been developed for Duane Reade, BCBG and Guess, among others.

Since its inception in 2001, Foot Petals has expanded its offering from a collection of cushion inserts for high heels into an array of products ranging from slippers to foot fragrances to men’s shoe accessories and flip-flops.

And although the rough economic climate has resulted in a 20 percent decline in business since 2007, Aldatz is focused on building relationships with already established accounts and expanding with new ventures, including a Foot Petals footwear license she hopes to sign in early 2010.

“It has to be the right partner who would understand that the shoes need to be comfortable and cool,” Aldatz said, noting that the line would include an offering of flats, stilettos and boots.

Other plans for the coming year, the executive said, include teaming up with Sam Edelman to produce a limited-edition, platform heel designed by up-and-coming footwear designer Raphael Young and bolstering the brand’s standing agreement with the Home Shopping Network.

“[Tina] has created some exclusive configurations of product for us, [and] we see it as a strong growth vehicle,” said HSN Inc. CEO Mindy Grossman, noting that the network will feature a Foot Petals gift set as an “item of the day” during an October broadcast. “She’s put herself out there as an entrepreneur to do something different and marry function and fashion, and it has been very successful.”

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