Minkoff Ramps Up Shoe Focus

NEW YORK — Rebecca Minkoff wants to take her fledgling footwear business to the next level, and she’s looking to Schwartz & Benjamin to help her do it.

After debuting footwear for spring ’11, the designer has struck a production deal with the New York firm.

“There are a couple of gold-star industry veterans that know this business,” said Minkoff. “Schwartz & Benjamin has knowledge, history and a good reputation. We wanted to learn from the best.”

Minkoff and her brother Uri Minkoff, the firm’s CEO, decided to pursue the partnership after major retailers convinced them it was imperative to expand.

Schwartz & Benjamin President Steve Shapiro said he is excited about partnering with a brand that has been on the firm’s radar for a couple of years. “Our almost 88-year history and experience combined with Rebecca’s modern outlook is a winning formula,” he said.

The Rebecca Minkoff label, which will keep control of sales and marketing, was drawn to Schwartz & Benjamin’s sourcing prowess. “They have facilities in many different countries,” said Uri Minkoff, “so we’re not stuck on our own with a couple of factories that may not be the best of breed.”

Rebecca Minkoff’s first offering with Schwartz & Benjamin is 30 percent bigger than previous collections. Price points remain the same, at $125 to $395.

Uri Minkoff estimated shoes will be 5 percent to 8 percent of the business this year, but predicted footwear will grow 3 to 4 times over the next year. The brand, as a whole, is expected to grow 60 percent.

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