When it comes to selling men’s shoes, Paul Farago believes in the direct approach. Farago is the co-founder of Ace Marks, a direct-to-consumer online men’s brand launching on Kickstarter.
The collection focuses on artisan looks produced exclusively in Italy. “Classics happen to be what I like the most,” Farago said about his decision to zero in on core looks that include wingtips, penny mocs, cap toes and monk straps. “While I [offer] basics, I’ve [updated] them in new color and material combinations. It’s our point of differentiation.”
Farago is also able to offer the collection at accessible price points under $200 by eliminating retailers and selling direct to consumers. According to Farago, the collection is targeted at consumers like himself from ages 25 to 35. “It’s for young professionals starting out,” he said.
According to Farago, the business has been in the development stages for three years. However, he was already an industry insider, having routinely traveled with his parents growing up to factories in Italy and Spain for their imported footwear business.
In launching the business, Farago has made a commitment to giving back to those in need with the creation of Leave Your Marks, a program whereby consumers can send back their worn pair of Ace Marks to receive a credit toward a new pair. The worn shoes are then donated to Career Gear, an organization that helps men in need enter the workforce. Those buying on Kickstarter will receive a $60 credit, with a $50 credit awarded to those who purchase shoes once the site goes live.
To assist consumers with their purchase, the Kickstarter launch provides a guide that coordinates individual shoe styles with the appropriate apparel choices. First delivery is expected in July.