Del Toro Expands Offerings, Accounts

Del Toro is charging ahead.

The six-year-old footwear brand plans to open its first branded store, a Miami flagship, in late fall. The label is also branching out from its signature smoking slipper, adding eight new styles for the season, including oxfords, boots and sneakers, to its men’s and women’s offerings.

Saks Fifth Avenue, which previously sold the brand only on its e-commerce site, picked up Del Toro for select brick-and-mortar stores for spring ’13. The shoes will hit Saks’ shelves in New York; Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Bal Harbour, Fla. in November. Amazon.com has also added the brand for fall ’12.

“Demand has risen dramatically,” said Del Toro President Matthew Chevallard, who founded the company with a group of childhood friends in 2006.

The label started small, initially producing a limited selection of men’s velvet smoking slippers in Spain. But in 2011, the brand moved its production to Italy, added women’s styles and new materials, such as leather and pony hair, and opened wholesale in the U.S., starting with specialty boutiques such as Scoop and American Rag. The bulk of the handmade footwear retails from $225 to $335.

Sales have gone international as well, with boutiques in Japan, China and Russia now carrying the brand. Chevallard said overall sales for Del Toro have increased more than 100 percent annually over the past three years.

“Website [sales] have been really strong,” the executive added. “We’ve been selling upwards of 200 pairs of shoes a month, so the next stage is to allow customers to experience the shoes and the craftsmanship in person.”

Del Toro also recently expanded into accessories, with belts and hats on its e-commerce site, and it plans to introduce luggage next, said Chevallard. A collaboration for a $350 limited-edition slipper with rapper Theophilus London is also in progress, set to debut at an August party at Fivestory boutique on New York’s Upper East Side. A full Del Toro kids’ line is on the horizon, too, projected to launch at Fivestory for fall ’12.

“We are really trying to develop this into a lifestyle brand for men, women and children,” Chevallard said, “so we have been slowly opening more doors and rolling out [new projects].”

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