Gourmet Footwear Charts New Path

Gourmet is cooking up something new.

After parting ways with brand-management company The Foundation last month, the West Hollywood, Calif.- based athletic vendor is attempting to streamline operations.

“We wanted to take things internally, so we could have more control and have salespeople fully dedicated to our brand,” co-founder Jon Buscemi said, adding that the firm works better on a much smaller scale.

The founders said one of the key initiatives for growing from the $5 million-a-year company it is now is to tell brand stories through its online platform: Gourmetfootwear.com

“Some of our styles may seem like a risky buy because the design is pretty out there,” said Gourmet designer and co-founder Greg Lucci. “But we’ve found that when we put up a video about my inspiration for the shoe, it generates some more buzz.”

For 2012, Gourmet has set a goal of releasing at least one original video per week. Topics range not only from the making of their product but also to profiles of entrepreneurs, technology and music.

Buscemi said that additional original content on the brand’s blog and social media platforms Twitter and Instagram have helped spur the direct-to-consumer business.  “Our products seem more appealing to the target consumer when they see the backstory behind it and they’re able to interact with us directly,” he said.

The co-founder added that Gourmet is looking to have hangtags on shoes in-store that direct shoppers to the website, as well as an F-commerce platform on Facebook in the coming season.

But Gourmet isn’t neglecting the brick-and-mortar side of the business, as they’re in the midst of building a sales team on the East and West coasts.

Currently distributed in boutiques such as Undefeated in California and Kith in New York, Gourmet has added streetwear retailer Black Scale to its list of stockists for fall ’12. Previously carried by Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, the vendor is also targeting department stores such as Nordstrom for spring ’13.

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