Eco-friendly brand Allbirds, new to the footwear scene with its concise offering of footwear made of renewable merino wool, is opening the doors to its second store on Thursday, this time in NYC’s trendy Soho neighborhood. The direct-to-consumer brand, which debuted in 2016, opened its first brick-and-mortar location in April in its home base of San Francisco.
“Our first New York store is a concept shop, designed to solve the major issues that have plagued traditional shoe shopping experiences,” said Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO. “From our experts with storefront access to inventory, to special editions launching only in New York, to our unique packaging, customers will have a fully immersive experience in the brand.”
According to Zwillinger, New York is its largest market. “We know it’s important to provide customers with a tactile experience to really feel the uniqueness and quality of our product. Being in Soho makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers and also visitors from around the country and world. This is just the start of things to come in the physical space from Allbirds.”
The store’s minimalist design echoes the tight product offering, which focuses on the Wool Runner and Wool Lounger, for both men and women and retailing for $95.
While trying on shoes, customers can relax on simple seating that includes circular stools and cushions. A New York theme is reinforced with a rendition of the skyline on the wall. For some interactive fun, there is a life-size hamster wheel where customers can test-run the shoes and experience their comfort.
Shoppers at the store will also find the newest color to the collection, Starry Night, inspired by the city. It will be introduced in the Runner style and sold exclusively at the New York location.
Allbirds’ roots cut across the globe in New Zealand. Tim Brown, a native of the country, known for its wool industry, became intrigued by the idea of using the unique qualities of the material in footwear. He then tapped Zwillinger, a family friend who worked as an engineer and renewables expert, to help develop the product. The two then partnered with an Italian textile mill to create a fabric that’s naturally odor-resistant, moisture-wicking and machine-washable.
And for those who can’t make it to the stores, the collection is available online.
Today, the brand has a celebrity following that includes Emma Watson and Ryan Gosling.