Buzz: Home Grown… Down Under… High Five…

Home Grown

Green Market Services is expanding its lineup with a collection of slippers under the Eastland name. The Brockton, Mass.-based company holds the licensing rights to manufacture and distribute women’s styles in the U.S. and Canada. Slated for an October delivery, the collection will play up Freeport, Maine-based Eastland’s heritage in outdoorsy casual footwear with slipper styles such as mocs (above), clogs and booties, all featuring indoor-outdoor bottoms. Retail prices will range from $25 to $50, with distribution targeted to department stores, independents and specialty retailers.

Down Under

Emu Australia is branching out with the addition of women’s apparel and accessories for fall ’09. The apparel will be made of the same luxe sheepskin and wool materials as the San Clemente, Calif.-based brand’s footwear and will include categories such as layering tops, sweaters and outerwear. The line, set for July delivery, will retail from $60 for a tank to $1,200 for a hooded jacket. Accessories, such as gloves, will retail from $50 to $100. Distribution will be targeted to footwear retailers, better apparel and accessories boutiques, department stores and outdoor and ski specialty stores. To support the launch, a global marketing campaign is planned.

High Five

Naturalizer is taking a new approach to comfort with the introduction of N5 Comfort Elements, a system of features and benefits that will be woven through the entire line. Based on market research conducted by the St. Louis-based brand, N5 incorporates five comfort elements consumers said they were looking for in their footwear: flexible insoles, featherweight outsoles, ergonomic heel and toe shapes, enhanced cushioning, and breathable linings.

“We validated this approach with women and learned there is an opportunity to bridge the gap between physical comfort — such as sizes, widths and fit — and emotional comfort, making [women] feel good about the shoes [they] wear,” said Marci Ranger, VP of marketing for Naturalizer. “In a time when companies are taking things out [of their shoes], we are adding value.”

According to John Mazurk, SVP of specialty retail for Naturalizer parent Brown Shoe Co., N5 was featured in a select group of styles for fall ’08. Based on the strong response, it will be addedto all product beginning in spring ’09.

To acquaint consumers with N5, Naturalizer is launching a creative marketing campaign that will include magazine ads, POS materials and postings on its Website. The initiative will also carry over into Naturalizer markets outside the U.S. “It will have the same imagery and collateral from Detroit to Dubai,” Mazurk said.

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