Aquatalia by Marvin K. has been busy upping its game. The 22-year-old, Montreal-based brand relaunched its website in August, adding more interactive features, such as live chat, and most importantly, e-commerce.
“E-commerce means putting your best face forward,” said Aquatalia founder, president and creative director Marvin Krasnow. “You’re controlling how you’re presenting yourself and giving your consumers the complete Aquatalia experience. [Online] you are also able to create [content that explains] why you do what you do, the history of the brand and how it connects with the public and their lifestyle.”
In addition, the brand is planning to expand its product offerings in 2012, adding more pumps and other styles to its mix, which is currently boot-centric.
Footwear News spoke with Krasnow about Aquatalia’s latest moves, what consumers really want, and why less is more when it comes to fall trends.
1. How has the new Aquatalia website helped your business, and how have you measured your success?
MK: It has helped tremendously. There’s a lot of buzz about Aquatalia all over the web. We have tracked it, and our site visits are up 70 percent compared to last fall. Our page views are also up 65 percent, and the average time on the site has increased 45 percent. That last statistic is very interesting, because it means people are taking the time to scroll through the site and read it. [From a sales standpoint], the e-commerce business is also doing very well. It is well ahead of what we projected it to be.
2. What’s one of the most popular features on the site?
MK: The trend list by Rena Krasnow [Aquatalia COO and fashion director] has been expanded dramatically, and it is more tied into clothing and how to put everything together. The consumer is looking for guidance in this. I do a lot of personal appearances at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, and it’s unbelievable how many women come up to me and tell me how much they are interested in not only knowing more about the product, but how to wear it. It’s all about how we get that information down to the street — that’s how you build a business.
3. Beyond increasing your online presence, how else are you adapting to the changing market?
MK: We are going to expand our shoe offering [starting in fall ’12]. Our shoes have been so successful, but a little bit dominated by our boots. We are going to create [non-boot] footwear with the same technology, the same finesse, and always out of Italy, but in more of a non-seasonal direction. The salvation of the industry is to be able to carry and sell shoes every day and not have to worry that, “Oh, this has a six-week window and then we have to put it on sale.” The market is really crying out for more product that can be sold at any time of the year, so there’s going to be an expanded offering of Aquatalia to satisfy this need.
4. Will you adjust your price points going into 2012?
MK: I estimate that our price points will be very comparable to what they were in 2011. Costs are up marginally in Italy, obviously, and there is always creeping inflation. But I think what we are seeing now is that the euro has softened a little bit against the U.S. dollar. The exchange is better, and that will compensate for any increases we get on the costs at the factory.
5. What trends do you predict in women’s footwear for 2012?
MK: There’s a bigger demand for lower heels and mid-heels, but still feminine. One of the big trends you’ll see is a more interesting use of materials and combinations: Colors blended with other colors and more textures. The amount of snake prints in the market is incredible. You’ll see a lot of plain pumps in different textures, fabrications and combinations, a little detail on the heel rather than on the upper —very subtle approaches to make the shoes more interesting.