For its latest investment, Foot Locker Inc. is thinking small.
On Thursday, the retailer announced that it will contribute $3 million toward a Series Seed II investment round, taking a minority stake in Super Heroic, the children’s lifestyle brand that offers performance sneakers and playful packaging that includes a superhero cape with each pair purchased.
Founded by former Jordan Brand designer Jason Mayden, the digital-native company has raised $10 million since it was founded in 2016, and its latest investor will also become its first brick-and-mortar retailer in the U.S. when Kids Foot Locker begins carrying its products in 2019.
Mayden’s mission for the brand, as he described it to FN last year, is to “encourage kids to conquer the day through play,” an ethos that comes through not only in its designs — which feature minimal logos, bright colors and high-performance details like extra traction for climbing on the playground — but also experiential elements like the sound effects it incorporates in the unboxing process.
For Foot Locker, the investment is an opportunity to bring a buzzy direct-to-consumer brand into the fold and harness innovative ideas around play that could help bring shoppers into stores. Experiential retail has been a boon to the company’s adult-geared brick-and-mortar locations (several now feature gaming zones and city-specific artist collaborations), so it stands to reason that it could do the same for kids.
As Richard Johnson, Foot Locker’s chairman and CEO, put it in a statement about the investment: “With its robust talent and cutting-edge innovation, we look forward to working with Jason and the entire Super Heroic team to offer an exciting, fresh product to our customers while realizing additional growth opportunities for the future. Giving kids the tools to be active is in our DNA. Having our two companies come together to empower kids to play has the potential to be game-changing.”