Entrepreneurs Kassie Rempel and Lisa Palmer are revealing their true colors — school colors, that is. The partners, who launched the Lillybee University line of collegiate-inspired women’s footwear 2013 with a single ballet style, have expanded the offering for fall ’14 with Lillybee Greek, a companion line of sorority looks.
Marketed under the Lillybee University name, the signature flat is available detailed in the colors of 73 U.S. universities. To further reinforce the college connection, removable bow style shoe clips are available featuring embroidered logos of each school in addition to a range of sororities. All footwear is licensed through the individual schools in order to accurately match their Pantone-derived colors.
“We decided there was a real opportunity in the $4 billion industry of collegiate merchandise,” said Rempel, noting women in particular had been underserved. The partners noted that according to IMG College, a sports marketing firm, there are 78 million female college sports fans, more than any major sports league. Coupled with this, women make up 55 percent of the student body in the company’s roster of schools, they said.
In the 18 months since the company’s debut, it’s generated an impressive $1 million in sales, with distribution through campus book stores, local sporting goods stores, boutiques and the chain of Cracker Barrel stores around the country. In addition, the line’s sold through the company’s own ecommerce site, lillybee.com.
Based on the success of the University and Greek collections, retailing at $48 for the flats, with solid color shoe clips at $12 and logoed versions at $18, the company is moving into new categories in 2015 with the addition of University peep-toe wedges at $78, rain boots at $68, and flip-flops at $32, with rain boots and flip-flops purchased with logoed enamel ornaments at $74 and $38 respectively. (Footwear sold through Lillybee.com is priced slightly higher).
Since many Millenials align themselves with a charitable cause, said the partners, Lillybee is introducing a series of looks detailed in the colors of a range of charitable organizations. “There were more opportunities than just collegiate fans,” said Rempel, noting Lillybee will donate a portion of the proceeds to the charities involved.