Is this shoe comfortable? Lamo certainly thinks so, and it’s putting its reputation — and financials — on the line to prove it.
The 25-year-old, California-based company, which is best known for its collection of cozy at-home slippers, has introduced the new Lamolite line of everyday casual footwear, made with a proprietary EVA outsole. Lamo is so certain that customers will like the shoes that it is offering a 30-day money-back “comfort guarantee.” with no questions asked.
“We’ve worked with our vendors and our customer service to take the shoes back from the customer with no questions asked, and either get them that they want or just refund their money,” said COO Jerry Breig. “We really wanted to stand behind this product and let the consumers know that this was a risk-free opportunity to try our product. I mean, this is the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn, and I’ve been in the shoe industry for 25 years.”
Breig said the program was supposed to roll out for spring ’21, but after Lamo introduced the concept to retailers in the summer, they began to quickly jump on board.
“We already have it in close to 1,000 doors,” he said. “We started with the fall ’20 product and we’ll have more coming out in the spring, including more styles and more SKUs.”
The initial style, a unisex chukka-like silhouette, is made with a heavy canvas upper and canvas lining. It is retailing for $57.99 on Lamofootwear.com, and comes in pink and gray for women, and tan and navy for men.
Meanwhile, like other slipper brands, Lamo has seen exponential growth this year for its core at-home footwear offerings, as the pandemic forced more people into a work-from-home situation.
Breig noted that the brand typically does a large proportion of its business in August through December. “But this year, obviously, that picked up early and we started to see October-level spikes in business in March and April, and it continued.”
He added the demand was largely consumer-led in the spring, as many retailers were forced to temporarily close their doors and furlough workers. “A lot of the third-party marketplace vendors that we deal with and a lot of our drop-ship e-commerce vendors were really reaping the benefits,” said Breig.
And while some brands struggled early in the year to respond to unexpected sales spikes, Lamo had decided in January to take a strong inventory position for the year. “Our vendors had been pushing for earlier shipments,” explained Breig. “It was kind of a lucky roll, but we were sitting inventory pretty in March, and had no problem fulfilling orders.”
But though Lamo was experiencing a banner year, it recognized that its retail partners were not. So in March, it began offering stores extended terms on orders and discounted rates, and introduced a direct-to-consumer service for smaller boutiques. “Even if you were just a retailer of ours that ordered one or two pairs occasionally, we offered to drop-ship directly to consumers,” said Breig, adding that the brand will continue to provide that service “as long as need be.”
Heading into 2021, Lamo is primarily focused on growing the Lamolite business, and also is working with a couple of top sales agencies to gain a stronger foothold in new markets, like outdoor. “We’ve been strong supporters of the outdoor organizations, like SIA and OIA, for a long time,” said Breig. “We’re all outdoor enthusiasts, so we’ve really been working to penetrate that market.”