The Veronica Beard design duo is diving into the footwear market for fall ’17. The label debuted its first collection during New York Fashion Week Monday.
“We wanted shoes to live in our brand ethos of cool classics,” said co-founder Veronica Swanson Beard. “Shoes that you want to wear every day, with a very utilitarian feel.”
Swanson Beard started the ready-to-wear label in fall ’10 with co-founder and sister-in-law Veronica Miele Beard. (The women married brothers, and yes, they are both named Veronica.) The Dickey jacket was their first item, and the label grew to include all categories such as dresses, hats, pants and tops.
The debut shoe line includes 15 styles produced in Italy, priced between $350 and $850. The designers focused on booties, such as rainboots with a lug sole and leopard Chelsea boots, flats and mules. Miele Beard said that narrowing down the collection was a challenge. “We love so many kinds of shoes, we had to take a stand,” she said. “We didn’t do pumps this time. We didn’t do sandals; we had to work within this very focused group because financially, we’re not a shoe company yet. You have to be very focused and pick your poison.”
Even without the history as an established shoe brand, the duo is targeting retailers where the core line sells. Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Shopbop.com and Intermix are a few top accounts. For inspiration, the designers channeled their target consumer and women within their own social circles.“She is the epicenter of every conversation we have. We created shoes that fit into her lifestyle, that are comfortable and you can wear all the time,” said Swanson Beard. “Veronica and I have eight kids [between the two of us], so we talked a lot about the ‘mommy drop-off shoes.’ ”
After more than seven years in business, they are confident about the direction the label is headed. “We’re so committed to our families, it was never an option that this wouldn’t be a success,” said Miele Beard.
Looking ahead, the designers are deciding how to expand the line for spring ’18 by adding espadrilles, wedges, gladiator sandals and more. “We will always have a few cornerstones and core styles in the line,” said Miele Beard, “but we’ll serve them up in a different way each season.”