Shop Talk: Airwalk Online… Simply Soles Expands

Airwalk Goes Old School
Aiming to meet demand for products from its archives, Airwalk relaunched its website last month with e-commerce. The new site features classic products, as well as signature shoes from Airwalk athletes.

“Eighty percent of visitors to our site wanted to buy product,” said Tiffany Fraser, Airwalk’s e-commerce manager. “Our product methodology is to offer old-school styles, nothing that you would see anywhere else. You won’t find it anywhere in the U.S.”

The site debuted with a focus on its classic Desert Boot, Prototype 540, and Prototype 600 styles. About 300 pairs of each will be available to consumers, and two to four major launches, with apparel pairings, will roll out each year.

“We’re trying to keep it exclusive so only a certain number of people will have them. We’re going after the enthusiast, the early adopter, the innovator,” said Fraser. Currently, only men’s product is offered on the site, but women’s will be available by year’s end.

Simply Soles Times Two
Washington, D.C.-based Simply Soles is scheduled to open a second location in early September, in Oxon Hills, Md. The sudden expansion was somewhat of a surprise, even to the owner. “I would love to say it was part of the plan and we’re fulfilling a strategy, but it really just came up spontaneously,” said owner Kassie Rempel.

The new store, a 2,100-sq.-ft. space to be used primarily for selling, will feature the same retro and eco-friendly design details as Rempel’s flagship in The Shops at Georgetown Park, a space dominated by reds, greens, kitsch furnishings and reclaimed materials.

The product mix for the new store includes Chie Mihara, Bettye Muller, Missoni, Butter, Lily Pulitzer, Dana Davis and the company’s private-label line, Lillybee.

Simply Soles hopes to gain access to consumers who might not otherwise discover the 6-year-old company. And the firm will be able to follow up with those customers and retain their business through its e-commerce site and catalogs, Rempel said.

Simply Soles’ core business continues to be driven by online and catalog sales, not the company’s brick-and-mortar store, she added. “It dovetails nicely with our catalog and online business,” Rempel said.

The retailer also relaunched its website in late summer offering new features such as additional shoe images and a more tailored conversion system for European sizes. The website also will incorporate a “What to Wear Wednesdays” feature that offers outfit recommendations for a featured pair of shoes each week.


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