Exclusive: Looking to Empower Women in Footwear, Kassia Davis Buys PF Flyers From New Balance, Her Family Business

Kassia Davis, the daughter of New Balance chairman and majority owner Jim Davis, has acquired heritage brand PF Flyers from New Balance.

The younger Davis will serve as executive chairwoman, and is actively seeking a CEO to lead the brand.

New Balance previously owned and manufactured PF Flyers, which was founded in 1937. The brand will relaunch in September with a collection of classic styles including the “Center Hi” for $68, the “Center Lo” for $58, and the “Sandlot” for $78. New styles will launch for fall ’22. “I’ve always felt like this was an iconic brand,” Davis told Footwear News in an exclusive interview.

PF Flyers will be operated by Davis’ holding company Kassia Designs, LLC. Davis did not disclose any figures regarding the valuation for PF Flyers, but said she is aiming to create a billion-dollar brand.

Davis left New Balance in 2019 after nearly 10 years at the company. In May of 2020, she founded KADA, a sustainable apparel brand for women.

Though she’s no longer working at New Balance, her acquisition of PF Flyers means the classic brand will stay within the Davis family.

“It’s an American classic with so much history and authenticity that I’m really passionate about evolving it into the brand that I truly believe it has the potential to be,” Davis said.

Davis aims to revamp the sneaker line and target female consumers. She plans to expand size offerings for women and add a “female focus” to the overall design process, she said.

“I personally have always been passionate about women supporting women,” said Davis, who is seeking a female CEO to lead the brand. As the executive chairwoman of PF Flyers, Davis is a member of a small, yet growing cohort of high-ranking women in the footwear industry, a position she does not take for granted.

“My hope is that I can help to show other females in the industry that it’s possible to be a leader,” she said. “And whether that means following their dreams and launching their own brand or finally pushing for that promotion within a larger brand, I think one is just as important as the other.”

Davis has tapped footwear design academy Pensole and founder D’Wayne Edwards to lead creative direction in the brand’s first year. Edwards is a former design director for the Jordan brand.

“As someone who understands, lived and worked in the sneaker industry for the last four decades, I am honored Pensole will play a role in helping bring such a historic brand like PF Flyers back into the minds and feet of consumers,” Edwards said in a statement. “I also look forward to engaging those same consumers not only as consumers but to become contributors to shape the brand they want to see for the future.”

While Pensole will help carry out Davis’ plans for evolving the historic brand, she is also staying true to PF Flyers’ more than 80-year history.

“We certainly don’t want to lose the heritage and the authenticity of the brand,” she said. “But we are certainly going to evolve it into a brand that’s more relevant to today’s consumer.”

Consumers interested in being notified ahead of product launches can sign up for the waitlist.

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