Dale Waters said he saw a void in trendy footwear for less than $100 and founded Electric Karma to fill it.
Now in its second season, the juniors’ brand is working to increase distribution (it currently sells at Buckle and Karmaloop.com).
For spring ’14, some of the biggest trends will include menswear-inspired looks such as brogues and oxfords, on wedges.
Here, Waters sounds off on the challenges of being a young brand and his plans for category expansion.
1. How does Electric Karma stay on top of the competition in the juniors’ category?
DW: Electric Karma is quick to market. [We aim] to catch a trend five minutes before [it gets big], not 10 minutes later. We [are positioned] as a vegan line and that has attracted socially conscious fashionistas. We will be part of a sustainable apparel and shoe segment on “Good Morning America” at the end of September.
2. What has been your biggest challenge along the way?
DW: Convincing brand-conscious retailers that there is life after [established brands], such as Steve Madden and Dolce Vita. They are great companies, but we offer an alternative. I have found that girls who are looking for new shoes are attracted to design and fit first.
3. Because you are aiming to become a lifestyle brand, what categories are next?
DW: With the initial success of Electric Karma in footwear, accessories were a natural progression. We felt our design point of view had a place in handbags and belts, too, with the same materials used for the shoes.