Wolf & Shepherd, a DTC brand, launched in 2015 with a narrative targeted to professional men with active lifestyles. Its sales pitch: design lightweight Italian leather dress shoes that feel like sneakers.
Founder Justin Schneider, who previously worked in product development for New Balance and Adidas, applied his background in running shoe technology to enhance the comfort in casual dress footwear.
The formula seems to be working. From 2016 to 2017, Wolf & Shepherd grew nearly sixfold, according to Schneider. “Within our first 12 months, we did more than $1 million in revenue,” he added. “Now we’re doing well over $10 million in revenue. We’ve sold 20,000 units to date.”
In addition to selling on its e-commerce platform, the brand has developed wholesale retail partnerships. It is stocked in 60 stores throughout North America, and last year, that segment of the business increased by 50 percent.
“Online is a great place to be when starting a brand, but it does tap out over time,” said Schneider. Next, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company is opening the doors of its first boutique concept on Aug. 15 in L.A.’s Westfield Century City shopping plaza. There, Wolf & Shepherd will be surrounded by a mix of upscale and affordable men’s stores, including Johnston & Murphy, Cole Haan and Louis Vuitton. Making the move even more appealing is the location’s large male demographic, traffic flow and street-side facade, Schneider added.
Westfield Century City’s senior GM, Louis Schillace, called Wolf & Shepherd the perfect fit: “Welcoming innovative, cutting-edge retail brands from the world of e-commerce … is just one of the many ways we are breaking down boundaries between digital and physical shopping to create one seamless and frictionless experience for our customers.”
Schneider predicted that this new sales channel won’t affect his brand’s “healthy” margin. “The cost of marketing is being replaced by leases. We don’t have to market the store as we do online, and instead of paying Facebook, you’re paying a landlord,” he said. “Retail drives profit online and vice versa.”
Visit Wolfandshepherd.com to view its latest styles.