How These Independent Retailers Are Distinguishing Themselves From the Pack

Rei Kawakubo; Adrian Joffe
Co-founder; President; Dover Street Market
The team made a grand statement with its relocated London boutique, in the Haymarket area of London. Dover Street, which also has shops in New York and Tokyo, unveiled two hot collabs for the opening: the NikeLab Roshe Daybreak x DSM and the Vans Vault DSM Special Old Skool in checkerboard.

Laure Heriard-Dubreuil
Co-founder & Owner, The Webster
The fashion influencer continued to expand The Webster’s footprint with the September opening of its fourth location, a 4,000-sq.-ft. space at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. Heriard-Dubreuil collaborated with Ritz Paris on the second iteration of her namesake collection, Laure, featuring a Tabitha Simmons slide that incorporates the store’s vintage wallpaper design.

Daniel Kahalani
CEO; DNA Footwear
Kahalani kicked off the year with an appearance on CNBC’s reality business series “The Profit.” The retailer has worked to beef up in-store promotions with brands to help drive traffic to stores. In May, DNAfootwear.com was refreshed with a new platform.

Jason Faustino
Co-owner; Extra Butter
Faustino is hot off a new partnership with sneaker star Jeff Staple. In March, the New York-based retailer teamed up with Reebok on a sneaker that honored the New York Islanders’ legacy in Long Island, ahead of the hockey team’s move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Maurice Breton
President; Comfort One
Breton opened two locations — in Bethesda, Md., in May and Alexandria, Va., in April. The independent retailer — now celebrating its 23rd anniversary — continues to attract customers through several in-store events, including wine tastings, giveaways and wellness workshops.

Isack Fadlon
Partner & CEO; Sportie LA The longtime Los Angeles retailer aims to rebuild his shop on Melrose Avenue in time for the first quarter. A fire in June caused extensive damage to the property and merchandise. On a brighter note, the retailer’s splashy new website helped boost traffic.

Mike Packer
Owner; Packer Shoes
The retailer continues to focus on attention-grabbing collaborations. A winning partnership this year included the Packer x Reebok Question Mid “Curtain Call” sneaker that paid tribute to basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson. The New Jersey-based boutique retailer will celebrate its 110th anniversary next year.

Ronnie Fieg
Founder and owner; Kith
The momentum continues for founder Ronnie Fieg, who last year added a Brooklyn outpost, women’s store and cereal bar to his store-turned-brand. Kith debuted its Kithland collection at New York Fashion Week, launched a boutique at Bergdorff Goodman, and more openings are slated for Miami and Aspen by the end of the year.

Sarah Lerfel
Owner, Colette
Lerfel’s Parisian concept store hosted the launch party for Fabrizio Viti, Louis Vuitton’s longtime designer, during Paris Fashion Week. It also teamed up with Paul Andrew for his men’s debut this summer. Other buzzy collaborations included a Buscemi x Colette high-top released in January and a Kith x Colette x Puma launch in June.

David Astobiza; Danny Astobiza
President, CFO, Sole Desire
The brothers forged ahead with more openings in 2016, in Sacramento and Santa Rosa. The retailer also opened its first discount outpost, Sole Desire Rack. Sole Desire will launch an e-commerce website next spring.

Tarek Hassan; Sam Hassan
Co-owners, Concepts and The Tannery
The Hassans celebrated the 20th anniversary of their streetwear-focused Concepts stores with collaborations at the beginning of the year with Nike, followed by New Balance in April. Meanwhile, The Tannery partnered with New Balance on a collection of exclusive Boston Marathon wares.

Carol Lim, Humberto Leon
Founders, Opening Ceremony
One of fashion’s coolest pairs debuted their new Club USA “sneaker cave” space on the third floor of the New York flagship, featuring a collaboration with Vans. Opening Ceremony also partnered with Teva for the third time on a sandal.

Danny Wasserman; Lester Wasserman
CEO; Tip Top Shoes & Tip Top Kids; Owner; West NYC
Wasserman’s Big Apple-based Tip Top Shoes celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. The retailer courted customers with several in-store activations throughout 2016. At West NYC, Lester Wasserman, who serves as GM of Tip Top, had a top seller in Nike this year as president of his streetwear-focused sneaker shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Peng Cheng
President; Bait
Cheng’s West Coast sneaker concept store inked a collaboration with Diadora to create a collection of sneakers inspired by DreamWorks films, including “Kung Fu Panda,” “Shrek,” “Felix the Cat” and “Skeletor.” The retailer’s next big move is to open its first international shop in Tapei, Taiwan.

Brian Curin
President; Flip Flop Shops
The franchising sandal retailer was acquired by parent company Cherokee Global Brands last year. Since that time, Flip Flop Shops has opened doors at 12 locations and has more stores slated to launch before the holiday season. An e-commerce site that includes a profit-split model with franchisees is due in November.

George Mersho
CEO; Shoe Palace
The family-owned retail chains expanded under all three banners this year, adding 36 Shoe Palace stores, two Nice Kicks shops and an Adidas Originals concept shop on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. After acquiring Shoe Biz last year and rebranding it as Anthem, the contemporary-focused store debuted in September in L.A., and another shop will launch in Bakersfield, Calif., before November.

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