Minnetonka’s retro styles are making a comeback. Here, the brand’s VP of business development, Jori Miller Sherer, talks about why the company’s heritage is paying off in present day.
How has the recent rise of retro trends impacted the Minnetonka business?
“When it comes to the ’60s and ’70s, anytime there’s a cultural celebration for that time we are the go-to brand because we aren’t just influenced by that period — they literally are the same shoes.”
Has there been a specific example in pop culture?
“Yes. In Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.’ The movie takes place in 1969 and star Brad Pitt is wearing this Minnetonka boot throughout a lot of the movie. When we saw an article with the promo photo featuring Pitt [in our shoes], we thought, ‘OK, we own our factory, we still make this shoe in women’s, let’s see if we still have the equipment for men’s.’ And we did. So we made a few pairs of the Two Button Boot for us and for Urban Outfitters and they just blew out.”
What was the response like from consumers?
“When the movie debuted, we had a 2,000-person waitlist within a week for the men’s boots. It was crazy. We had already been working on making more. Now we keep dropping product and selling out. There’s been nothing like this. This is next level and unique. What’s been fun is that the other heritage styles have been selling through more than usual, too. It’s interesting because there are not many films of this size being made and it’s been successful so far. It’s so accurate to that time. We made these products then and we still have them now and it has introduced new people to the brand.”
Outside of heritage, how has the product evolved?
“We have a new designer. And for spring ’20, we have a new colorway story where we have the next generation Kilty moccasin, which we will release in 11 colors. We have a sandal featuring those colors too. The energy felt strong around that. It’s in our DNA, but new and fresh. There’s more comfort than ever. We are committed to touching those things. We’ve [seen positive responses] from popular independents.”
What are you focused on most at the moment?
“It’s what anyone else who is in retail is dealing with, which is [keeping up with] constant change and evolution. We are evolving the brand in a way that’s authentic to us, [focusing on] truly fresh product that still feels like us and figuring out what that means. What is the elasticity there? No one wants a black stiletto from Minnetonka, which is great, but there’s still room to grow. And right now, it’s listening to the consumer more than we have done in the past.”
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