Ronnie Fieg On Why Kith Isn’t Just a Sneaker Store

“That’s a serious misconception for the Kith brand and the retail space,” Ronnie Fieg said in conversation today at the FN CEO Summit in Miami. “It’s not only sneakers. It’s a lifestyle. I don’t want to even call it a shop.”

The founder and creative director of retailer Kith has been at the helm of this successful business, which Fieg would reiterate is a lifestyle.

“There’s no where we can’t go,” he continued. “As a long as I’m the creative director of all the product that we are able to create, it will always be what’s missing in my closet. I think that’s been an organic approach to the brand.”

Ronnie Fieg, Kith, FN Summit
Ronnie Fieg, founder and creative director of Kith at the FN CEO Summit on May 24, 2017.
CREDIT: Patrick MacLeod

After working at former New York footwear retailer David Z for 15 years, Fieg had his own idea of what the consumer needed.

He said, “I was very passionate about footwear, but I realized it was just a come-and-go experience. There was no local crave. That’s what I thought the market needed. When we opened six years ago, the idea was to be the best footwear boutique by offering an experience in the space.”

And that experience has since transcended into global pop-up shops, exclusive collaborations, an apparel business, an NYC cereal bar with Kith Treats and more retail locations, including the latest in Miami, as well as the Kith Shop at Bergdorf Goodman.

“Buying product from us is the best form of self expression,” said Fieg. “That’s what we want to show. You should have your own style and taste. We just want to put the best possible assets out there so people can make their own decisions without having to be forced.”

Ronnie Fieg, Kith, FN Summit
Ronnie Fieg, founder and creative director of Kith at the FN CEO Summit on May 24, 2017.
CREDIT: Patrick MacLeod

What makes Kith unique and almost untouched by the shaky retail landscape is that it’s a fruitful retailer on one end and a highly sought-after brand on the other. “We are an anomaly in many ways because we are both. The attention to detail of not only the product, but the experience is 50/50,” said Fieg. “There aren’t many options like Kith, and I’m not looking to monopolize that experience. If it’s coming from a place of passion, that will definitely translate. It’s a matter of really understanding the consumer and evolving with the consumer in the way that they think.”

While the business is gaining immense popularity, growth to the point of losing some control is out of the question.

Fieg explained, “I will not grow to the point where I can’t have fun with doing what I do. Money is not the goal for me. The brand has been the focus. I want to see where that goes and keep it close.”

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