Seychelles is getting an older sister.
The brand’s parent company, El Segundo, Calif.-based Seychelles Imports LLC (owned by Dynasty Footwear), will debut
the women’s line Eight Fifteen for spring ’14. The collection puts the focus on comfort with foam cushioning by OrthoLite, designed to provide support all day long, whether it is 8:15 in the morning or at night (thus, the name of the line).
“We’ve always stayed true to our consumer and given her comfort, but there is still that consumer who wants to be super stylish and needs extra comfort,” said Sari Ratsula, president of Seychelles Imports.
The new label targets women in their late 20s to 40s and initially will consist of about 12 styles of sandals, wedges, flats and heels. Retail prices range from $110 to $170.
“Because the consumer is a little bit older than our Seychelles customer, we are toning down the prints and adding more clean lines and silhouettes,” said Ratsula. “We still use a lot of color.”
The brand will debut in August at FFANY and FN Platform, the latter of which will be equipped with a Fit Bar where buyers can test the comfort features. Eight Fifteen already has been picked up by David’s Shoes in Beverly Hills and El Segundo, Calif., and also will target department stores and specialty boutiques.
Ratsula noted that finding a factory capable of developing the right comfort formula was a challenge that took several months to resolve. But the line now is produced in southern China, and Ratsula said she’s feeling confident about the unveiling.
Down the line, the company plans to roll out marketing initiatives such as online campaigns featuring bloggers.
Ratsula said, “This brand is going to add excitement [to our portfolio].”
The brand is meant for consumers looking for something fashionable and comfortable. “Women deserve more than they have today — that’s the driving force,” said Ratsula.
“There is definitely a void in the market for this type of footwear, both fashion and comfort,” said David Jassem, president at David’s Shoes LLC, which owns two stores in the Los Angeles area. “You can see the Seychelles DNA, but this [collection] is a bit more sophisticated. It will reach a broader range of customers.”
Sari Ratsula has an MBA from the University of Helsinki, Finland, where she studied marketing and accounting. She stumbled into the footwear industry when she landed an internship at Vans. She stayed there for 10 years, working up to SVP of design and development. Ratsula joined Seychelles in 2000.