Moda Operandi’s CEO Talks Big Ambitions for Shoe Growth

Luxury e-commerce site Moda Operandi has big ambitions for the shoe category. “With most of our business in apparel, we have a tremendous opportunity in the [accessories] category,” said Deborah Nicodemus, CEO.

This year, the executive’s focus led to the restructuring of the nonapparel team — which includes shoes, handbags and accessories — and its respective departments. “Now I have a lead for each of those businesses,” said Nicodemus. The company’s new focus is already paying off: In July, shoe sales increased 98 percent compared with last year, while unit sales were up 71 percent.

During the next few months, Moda will launch its “Shoe Salon,” which will curate collections of multiple brands via an editorial lens. “We present emerging talent alongside renowned designers in a cohesive, meaningful sense of discovery, which our clients love,” Nicodemus said.

moda operandi, deborah nicodemus, shoes
A view of Moda Operandi’s online Shoe Salon.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Moda Operandi

Following the introduction of the initiative, Moda Operandi will debut a customization feature in the fourth quarter. Shoppers will be able to build their own shoes from various designers, which are still being finalized. “Customers are craving newness across all categories,” Nicodemus explained.

In aligning with the typical buying pattern of ready-to-wear customers, Moda Operandi has also made changes to its nonapparel trunk show timelines.

“As of resort 2018, we have extended the trunk show for shoes from 15 days to 30 days, double the length of the ready-to-wear shows. Many of our clients buy ready-to-wear first, then come back to complement the purchase in the nonapparel side,” said Nicodemus.

moda operandi, deborah nicodemus, shoes
Deborah Nicodemus, CEO of Moda Operandi.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Moda Operandi

The company is also setting itself apart by offering more exclusive product. In August, it hosted a limited-edition capsule collection — just 50 pairs — of custom Christian Louboutin shoes ranging from $2,770 to $3,335. This was on the heels of last year’s blowout hand-embroidered “Zodiac” collection with the designer. The shoes, which had an opening price point of $2,000, sold out.

Nicodemus said, however, that while offering luxury items is central to the firm’s objective, the price point does not denote the characteristic. “It is much more than the cost of an item — it is very much experience-driven. We offer collections at multiple price points across all categories,” Nicodemus said.

Most recently, the site debuted Koio, a line of modern, hand-finished leather sneakers.

“We love Moda’s style, and it’s a perfect fit for the Koio brand,” said Chris Wichert, co-CEO of the brand. “Moda is forward-thinking, innovative and easy to work with. We’re planning to further intensify our collaboration in the future.”

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