3 Questions for Kenny Robinson

Penny Loves Kenny is back on track.

The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based brand, owned by Titan Industries, is reshaping its business. Owner Kenny Robinson, who runs the label with his wife, Penny, has returned after a roughly two-year absence. (The Robinson duo exited to start a new brand, Penny Sue, with The Adoni Group Inc., that will now continue without them.)

“I’ve always said it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it,” Robinson said of the decision to leave Titan two years ago. “I learned how to better operate in a corporate environment back at Titan. I learned a lot about price points and selling more efficiently in the juniors’ market.”

Now, Robinson is rebuilding his brand, which continued in the hands of Titan during his absence. For fall ’14, he is excited about both over-the-knee and combat boots, and for spring ’15, plans to incorporate more single-sole looks into the line.

“We went toward casuals, but our customer still wants a sexy dress shoe and high heels,” said Robinson, who counts online partners such as Zappos.com and Heels.com as some of his largest accounts. 

Here, the brand founder talks obstacles, price points and the new future.

1. What is a recent challenge you’ve faced?
Our sourcing has [drastically] improved in China. I was using too many factories and I finally found the right group to work with. Samples are coming in clean and the styling is great. The juniors’ business is based on styling, and as far as speed-to-market, we’ve hit the right pace level for our customer.

2. How important is price point to your consumer?
One of the big improvements across our line is the synthetic [leathers]. What is available now is light years ahead of what it was before. I’m at $129 for my most expensive shoe. The juniors’ customer often doesn’t care if it’s leather, as long as the pricing is good.

3. What are a few of your biggest future goals?
I want to keep our focus on a more [cohesive collection] for the customer. I’m trying to build the product in a way that you know the style is Penny Loves Kenny without looking at the label. I returned to Titan in November with a better idea of what will sell in stores.

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