Allbirds, the sneaker startup that has taken the industry by storm, revealed that it has sold a million pairs of its wool shoes in just two years. That equates to $100 million in sales. Today, the San Francisco-based brand is expanding its offering with the addition of the Skipper — a new collection made from trees. It will be the brand’s most sustainable product to date, with minimalist design and a light carbon footprint.
The line is crafted from a textile that Allbirds engineered using eucalyptus tree pulp. It feels smooth and rapidly wicks away moisture. To further enhance the collection’s comfort, the shoes feature a knit upper for breathability, while a wool insole and heel cup deliver a cozy fit.
Co-founder Joey Zwillinger told FN that the style has been in development for more than two years — even before the company officially launched. “Being a direct-to-consumer company means we get thousands of inquiries a week,” he said. “We found out that two-thirds of our customers don’t wear socks with shoes in the summer, and there’s a moment [with our wool styles] that’s a little too hot for people.”
All told, the company developed between 60 and 80 prototypes before it landed on the final product. “We don’t operate like a regular shoe company where it’s like three samples and we’re in production,” Zwillinger said. “We do way more volume with less styles. It goes through this crazy number of iterations.”
The unisex silhouette is simple in design, a nod to the athleisure movement. And to get the full comfort experience, the shoes should be worn barefoot.
The new offering rounds out the brand’s signature wool runners and loungers available online and in its stores in New York and San Francisco.
The idea for the brand started with Tim Brown, a native of New Zealand, who observed the qualities of merino wool and took on the challenge of developing a textile using the natural material. On his journey, he partnered with Zwillinger, a San Francisco-based engineer and renewables expert, to create it.
The duo, which has raised almost $30 million in investment, is rapidly building the business with a savvy direct-to-consumer-focused strategy. Its biggest markets include New York, San Francisco and Atlanta — as well as New Zealand. Further international expansion is on tap in the coming months.
The founders made an appearance today on “CBS This Morning” to talk about the new launch and the popularity of the brand. Co-anchor Gayle King said she had recently gifted Oprah with a pair of Allbirds for her birthday.
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