Del Toro is back with a new CEO.
The Italian-made brand will continue to focus on bespoke slippers and sneakers under the leadership of Andrew Roberts, a young entrepreneur. The New York-native is new to the footwear industry but comes with a love of Del Toro shoes. With experience working for DTC companies in the apparel, baby products and pharmaceutical sectors, Roberts is excited to take the reins of what he describes as his “favorite shoe brand ever.”
“It’s like being a sports fan and then years later running the team,” Roberts told FN.
Del Toro, which was founded by Matthew Chevallard in 2005, has a loyal following. Known for its edgy yet classic styles, the brand’s Miami flagship store captured the attention of Roberts in 2015, who was working in the area at the time.
“My job was about two blocks away was the Del Toro Flagship, and one day after work, I stopped by, walked in and was so impressed by the shoe collection. They were unlike any other shoes I’d seen before,” said Roberts.
Roberts continued to follow the brand, even when he moved from Miami back to Manhattan. In 2019, he overheard through a friend that Del Toro was up for sale. Roberts and a group of investors rallied together and bought Del Toro. By the spring of 2020, Roberts signed on as CEO and he was ready to work on relaunch.
“When we bought the company the first thing we did was we had to shut it down because we had to move warehouses and relaunch the website,” said Roberts. “The amount of emails we got of concern that their favorite shoe company was going away was overwhelming.”
After holding a sample sale in the spring to liquidate some of the older styles, Del Toro shut down for a couple of months. When the footwear company came back in late 2020, Roberts noticed that some customers were ordering shoes in bulk as if they were worried Del Toro would shut down again.
“We saw a lot of orders of like eight shoes in size eight because people were just stocking up, as if people were like, ‘in case you guys go away again, I need to get all my orders in,'” Roberts said. “It was just great to see the customer support and when we relaunched.”
For its new collection in over two years, Del Toro offers styles for both men and women ranging from $225-$375 on Deltoroshoes.com. The brand offers accessories such as socks, hats and belts. Customization is also a business Roberts is focusing on. The new CEO notes that customizable options for weddings have been popular, even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We even had someone submit an order who is planning a wedding for 2022,” Roberts said, who added that January had been a big month for wedding orders.
Most shoe styles can be customized within three business days, thanks to the brand’s warehouse in New Jersey. “We’re like the best friend of the last-minute gift,” Roberts said.
What’s next for Del Toro? Roberts hopes to continue the brand’s innovation through customization and collaborations, a key component to Del Toro’s identity in the past. The new CEO also hopes to maintain a cohesive identity to the Del Toro he grew to love.
“I feel like I have an advantage to being a customer first because every decision I make is through the customer lens,” said Roberts.