Former model and musician Anine Bing has been building her 3-year-old eponymous shoe brand with a unique approach that eschews traditional seasons. Here, the designer gives Footwear News the scoop on how she’s doing it.
How does your background in music play into your footwear line?
Everything I do that’s creative plays a role. I don’t have as much time for music anymore, but my footwear has the same kind of rock ’n’ roll twist with a soft bohemian vibe, which is the way my music came out [for my band, Kill Your Darlings]. What put me on the map was my Charlie [studded] boots, which have a rock edge.
What are some other standout styles in the collection?
We’ve added our first high-heel boots [this fall]. You can style them casually, which makes them stand out and feel special. Right now, we are releasing summer sandals, and I will continue to do boots year-round. I release new styles every month. It’s different from what everyone else [in the industry] does, but it’s a great way for my customers to always have something to get excited about. We have a good setup with our factory in Turkey — it’s a great resource. [Our method] keeps things interesting, and as a designer, it’s fun to always be inspired.
How are you expanding your retail presence?
We have one [branded store] in L.A., one in New York in the West Village and we’re going to open in Europe, Paris and London. We’re still looking at spaces. I would love to have 10 stores at least. I want to grow organically, but of course, I have my goals. I want to move slowly, but at a [smart] speed. [Our wholesale partnerships] are also going really well. Last year, we were in 200 stores. Now, we have close to 500 accounts.
You’ve also garnered a lot of celebrity attention. How did that come about?
I was very lucky. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore my shoes early on. Some of my favorite women, [such as Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth and Kate Upton], have also worn the brand, and these are beautiful, amazing and talented women. I was lucky to sell my brand to great stores, and that’s where those women saw [the product]. Celebrity placement is a good, organic way to build [buzz].
What’s the strategy for continuing your current momentum?
You have to create great content and great styles while being present in all different [product categories]. Our next launch is swimwear, and handbags is a category that is strong right now. Social media and Instagram are such important tools for my brand — that’s how I started, and I still post every time we release a new style. We are going from being a small brand to being a big business, so we are also finding great new people to work with.