Del Toro’s Co-Founder Talks Past Mistakes and How His New Blu Scarpa Brand Is Different

For Blu Scarpa, his next high-end footwear venture, Matt Chevallard is taking a drastically different approach to product than he did with the Del Toro label he co-founded in 2005.

“Consumers have so many options and their attention spans are so short, you have to hit the nail on the head and be direct about what you’re offering. Otherwise, it’s lost in the mix,” Chevallard said. “I went from offering a Crayola box of options to just two now.”

Abandoning the 100-plus SKUs per season model of Del Toro, the entrepreneur launched Blu Scarpa in November with the La College penny loafer and the La Runner sneaker. Chevallard sees brands such as Tod’s and Gucci as competitors for La College; and Common Projects, Lanvin and Nike as competitors for La Runner.

The looks, which he described as the “perfect arsenal for the modern man,” are handmade in Italy and retail for $425.

“I saw a void in designer shoes. I want a uniform, something when I travel — whether it’s a week or two weeks or two days — it’s two shoes [that work] for every function. Something that goes well with everything,” he said.

The shoes debuted on Nov. 7 in Miami at The Webster and at a pop-up shop in the Office art gallery.

Although Chevallard revealed the brand at brick-and-mortar, his focus will primarily be on e-commerce. Ideally, he’d like 70% of the sales to come from Bluscarpa.com.

“Wholesale is certainly not dead, but it’s challenged,” said the designer. “You need wholesale for credibility, for exposure, but that can slap you in the face when you don’t sell through quick enough. You have to be careful because the shelf life and ability to capture people’s attention, and converting a transaction is that much harder today.”

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