Toms Bows Luxe Line, Continues Expansion

NEW YORK — After recently returning from a research trip in Ethiopia and his latest shoe drop in South Africa, Blake Mycoskie is preparing for his next venture: conquering the luxury market.

The Toms Shoes founder will launch an exclusive collection in all Neiman Marcus doors and at Bergdorf Goodman in New York this week. The line will feature new designs with special linings and premium fabrics, including metallic linens for women and silk-tie fabrics for men.

“From a design perspective, we were trying to preserve the classic silhouette of Toms, but give an upgraded and exclusive version for the Neiman and Bergdorf customer,” said Mycoskie. “The company is really getting behind this, so we’re excited about the potential.”

The holiday collection ranges from $78 to $125 and will be part of Toms’ continuing philanthropic mission: for every pair of shoes sold, the company will donate a new pair to a child in need.

“Our Neiman Marcus customer will find Toms not only a fun shoe to wear for his or her casual lifestyle needs, but more importantly, they will enjoy giving these shoes as gifts,” said Julee Butler, VP and DMM of ladies shoes at Neiman Marcus. “Our customers appreciate the philanthropic outreach of Toms.”

In addition to the new line, Toms debuted its first shoe with laces in September, the Cordones, expanding on the classic slip-on that started the company in 2006. And early this month, the brand also will release a high-top version of the Botas shoe.

Over the summer, the brand — which was featured last week on CBS Evening News — ran a successful pop-up store in the Hamptons, in Montauk, N.Y. — and while Toms does not have any other retail collaborations or corporate partnerships in the works, Mycoskie said he is always open to conversation. But for now, he explained, the firm is focusing on building the core business at Tomsshoes.com and striving to achieve or surpass its goal of giving away 300,000 pairs of shoes by year-end.

And due to the rapid expansion of his business, Mycoskie said he is currently trying to expand his executive team: He is searching for a CFO and someone to run the e-commerce division.

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