SneakErasers, a DTC shoe care product launched in 2016, will soon be available in Walmart stores nationwide after scoring a deal at the retail giant’s annual Open Call contest for sourcing U.S. products.
American suppliers attended the Open Call at Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters for a meeting with buyers, where they got a chance to pitch their brand for a chance to get shelf space.
“If you have a product made in America, you want to attend,” said Kevin Consolo, co-founder of SneakErasers, whose line of on-the-go pre-moistened sneaker cleaning erasers impressed buyers enough for a contract that will see them in 1,000 stores.
“They ask us to present our product, story and why they should select us,” Consolo explained. “They’ll tell you if you’re ready or not, or if it’s best to begin online or get your products in the stores right away.”
And the competition was fierce among the 10,000 suppliers who applied to attend, but only 470 made the cut. From there, 20 participants were tapped to film an “elevator pitch” that will be shared on Walmart’s corporate Instagram and Facebook pages. “It’s a literal elevator pitch where you step into an elevator with a camera crew,” he said of the segment slated to publish this week.
“We’ve grown a lot into an innovative item in the shoe care market,” Consolo said. “There’s a lot of stuff for leather shoes already and we want to expand what’s available for sneakers.” The SneakErasers work similar to that of magic erasers, but intended to clean sneaker midsoles and other portions of the shoe with a sponge that removes stains and scuff marks. “We use a pretty simple solution with a small percentage of alcohol mostly with water. It’s just a different way to go about it — brush kits are not convenient.” Consolo previously shared that the line is “selling really well” on Amazon.com.
Walmart’s sixth Open Call showcase, for businesses of all sizes, aligns with its initiative to support U.S.-made products and U.S. jobs, committing an additional $250 billion in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. by 2023.
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