American Rag’s CEO Mark Werts Talks Economy’s Impact On Footwear Sales And New ‘Simple Solutions’ Book

american rag cie simple solutions book
From left to right: Amy Pham, American Rag Cie's Mark Werts and Tim Bryan.
Courtesy of American Rag Cie.

After traveling the world over the years, American Rag Cie’s CEO Mark Werts has observed some policies from other countries that he believes are favorable for business growth in the U.S.A. — and he has presented the strategies in a new book, “America’s Simple Solutions: A Visionary’s Blueprint for a Better Tomorrow.”

Speaking to Footwear News at the launch party for the financial strategy book and presentation of the label’s new 321 sportswear collection, Werts said selling pricey footwear in the current economic climate is becoming a bigger challenge for retailers.

american rag cie simple solutions book mark werts “America’s Simple Solutions: A Visionary’s Blueprint for a Better Tomorrow,” a new book by Mark Werts, CEO of American Rag Cie. Courtesy of American Rag Cie.

“The economy is tough,” he explained. “So people have a hard time spending $800 on shoes now — people are going for less formal options. We sell chic sneakers from Italy, for $400 to $500, but this is a niche market. We love Fiorentini and Baker, Moma, Buttero, and we do collaborations with Puma and a lot of brands.”

Werts explained that the “reduction of regulations” and “not having penal taxes” is key for American retailer growth. “If you’re successful, you get a whack [from the government],” he said. “If you reward [retailers], you’ll increase success.”

american rag cie simple solutions book mark werts Interior of American Rag Cie. Courtesy of American Rag Cie.

“When we are overly regulated, there are so many tariffs and taxes that it strangles business,” he said, citing Singapore as an example of how businesses and individuals can thrive.

Werts’ multilabel retail shops source some of its footwear from France, Spain and Portugal.

“It represents about 15 to 20 percent of our business, and our athletic wear is growing,” he added.

American Rag Cie recently launched its 321 line of “comfy” knit sportswear, which was also presented at the event.

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