Cobbler Union Joins DTC Movement

Cobbler Union aims to bring high-end footwear to consumers for mainstream prices.

The latest direct-to-consumer men’s shoe brand launched online in February. Founders Daniel Porcelli and Santiago Pereiro previously headed up a company with Spanish bespoke designer Norman Vilalta. Porcelli and Pereiro are now working with master shoemaker Miquel Arenas on Cobbler Union.

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“We had invested almost three years in learning the industry, building production capabilities, so we knew we wanted to stay in the shoe world,” said Porcelli, who serves as CEO. “And we thought we could not only disrupt the shoe industry but also the luxury world, where prices are going up and quality is going down.”

The shoes, made in Spain using French and Italian leathers, sell for $395 to $475. The launch included 27 models, ranging from a two-tone spectator (the signature shoe) to a chukka in grained calf leather.

The new brand joins other recent footwear market entrants, including Jack Erwin and Greats Brand, that have been inspired by the Warby Parker model: cut out the middleman and offer product without retail markups. Both those labels have received outside investment toward further expansion.

Cobbler Union differentiates itself by targeting a luxury customer. Inspiration for the looks comes from the bespoke realm, Porcelli said.

“Another inspiration is the whiskey world and small-batch production,” he added. “Our goal is to produce these models in small batches, but offer many models on an ongoing basis.”

Going forward, Porcelli said, the company could introduce additional categories and stores. It already has built up the team, hiring a chief marketing officer, and is now raising capital to continue growth.

“For this business model to work, we need to grow fast,” he said. “And we believe we are doing hasn’t been done before.”

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