To mark its 20th anniversary, Emu is embarking on a new direction.
For spring, the sheepskin brand will expand its offering to de-seasonalize and provide its signature natural aesthetic year-round.
Jim Scholle, the label’s North American president, talked to FN about revamping Emu and using social media to better connect with customers.
How is Emu celebrating 20 years?
JS: We have reimagined our classic Stinger Lo in 20 new colors, one for each year we’ve been in business. On a larger scale, Emu is focusing on our “Ever Natural” philosophy to bring women natural, high-quality product season after season. For fall ’14, we are introducing our premium Select group, which includes three sub-collections (City, Meadow and Beach) that really show off a new look for us.
Why has made Emu made the move to broaden the line and de-seasonalize?
JS: Emu was founded as a sheepskin boot business, and the company will continue to thrive in that sector, but there was a growing demand for our craftsmanship and aesthetic to be applied to spring-specific offerings. For spring ’15, we’ll debut a range of new silhouettes including wrapped leather egg-shaped heels, perforated open-toe booties, water-resistant ballet flats and athletic-inspired sandals.
What are the key styles for spring ’15?
JS: From the Balance collection, the Karris is a really special shoe. With wrapped EVA for high comfort, along with the smooth leather upper with bold pops of color, it is our signature sandal for spring. The Sarina Collection is our answer to the requests for water-resistant product for this season. Our Sarina ballet has waterproof leather, just as our boots do for fall ’14, and a cushioned footbed providing comfort, support and durability for the rainy season. We are also very excited about High Rise, which our fashion-conscious customers will like. The Dame is an open-toe, perforated bootie that comes in our soft leathers and suede. It has a bit of height to take you from a day at work to dinner.
What has been the biggest challenge with this move so far?
JS: The biggest challenge is breaking through the perception that we are only a sheepskin bootmaker. Our new collections have really helped in that effort.
How will you communicate the changes to the consumer?
JS: Our approach has always been to interact with our customers in an organic way, and we will continue to evolve this into spring. In addition to expanding our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram content, we will be launching on Pinterest, which is very relevant for communicating our “Ever Natural” ethos though such a visual platform. Overall, we will be giving customers more insight into the processes at Emu and telling the story of our craftsmanship.