Seychelles Plots Growth With Fresh Initiatives

NEW YORK — Seychelles is sticking to its vintage-inspired roots.

The brand, owned by El Segundo, Calif.-based Dynasty Footwear (along with sister label BC Footwear), is unveiling several projects for spring ’13, including two capsule collections: The Weekender and Corey Lynn Calter, a collaboration with the namesake designer. The first launch will include eight casual looks and the second features three styles crafted by Calter to incorporate bright colors and patterns.

Last month, Seychelles had a presence at New York Fashion Week with its third footwear collaboration for the Ivana Helsinki runway show. Seychelles also recently opened a branded Shoe Closet shop-in-shop in Helsinki’s store in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, a first for the brand.

Moving forward, Seychelles will continue to focus on the basics. Another capsule collection, titled The Ultimate Feel-Good Collection, is in the works for a future launch.

“We partner with firms with a similar type of DNA,” said Sari Ratsula, brand president. “Our business is circular — we don’t do whatever is in fashion. We always tie [our decisions] back to our consumer’s needs.”

And Seychelles’ business is growing. The brand continues to expand its retail presence and saw a spike in orders during the trade show season, starting with FFANY in June.

“Even though the market is tough, the business we wrote with our customers [this year] was the largest volume in this same time period since we started,” said Ratsula.

The brand distributes primarily to independent retailers, such as Sole in Atlanta and Shoo in Madison, Wis. However, its footwear styles, which retail between $60 and $140, also are available at select Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus locations, as well as at Modcloth.com.

Susan Gregg Koger, founder and chief creative officer at Modcloth, said Seychelles is one of the top sellers on the website. “The brand stands out because they make quirky, wearable shoes in compelling color palettes,” she said. “We have an amazing relationship with Seychelles. We’re such big fans of the people and the shoes. We will definitely continue to feature their brand.”

In addition, Seychelles plans to expand its partnership with Anthropologie, creating a new holiday style and a second look for spring ’13 that will come with an exclusive box and logo.

In terms of marketing, social media remains a focus for Seychelles as it moves forward without the use of traditional advertising. For example, the brand hosts numerous parties featuring guest bloggers.

“It’s really important to have a direct communication with the consumer. We don’t go through traditional media — we’re all about letting the girl discover us,” said Ratsula.

And those efforts have translated into an uptick in sales. When a shoe shot is posted to Instagram, the brand’s e-commerce site registers a sales increase. “Sometimes the sales are immediate, sometimes it takes a while,” said Ratsula, adding that while the brand remains small, sales from social media efforts have increased by 10 percent.

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