WWD.com/accessories-news/footwear/toms-to-launch-ballet-flats-for-spring-2012-5212360/
government-trade
government-trade

Toms to Launch Ballet Flats for Spring 2012

The Santa Monica-based company is in expansion mode.

View Slideshow

Toms Shoes, the maker of canvas slip-on sneakers, is set to launch its first collection of ballet flats for spring.

Toms founder and chief executive officer Blake Mycoskie told WWD the company began developing ballet flats around the same time it created its wedge shoe, which appeared on the market 18 months ago.

“When the wedge came out it exploded,” he said. “Having seen that success, it was just a matter of time before we perfected the ballet flat.”

According to Mycoskie, since Toms shoes gained traction, female customers started asking for “less casual looks.”

Toms’ limited edition collection with Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsens’ high-end brand The Row this fall may have been a prelude to more of those looks.

As a result, Toms will launch two collections of ballet flats for spring: an upscale line for Neiman Marcus for about $125, and a core collection for other retailers, which will retail between $74 and $79. Those shoes will be sold at the same retailers where Toms slip-ons are sold.

Although Mycoskie declined to discuss financial details, he said that in September 2010, Toms sold its millionth pair of shoes. It’s a year later, and Toms has surpassed the 2 million mark.

Since its inception five years ago, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based firm, known for its one-to-one charitable mission of donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold, has been in expansion mode. The firm entered the eyewear category in June and has increased its store count by more than 300 percent, according to the ceo, who added that Toms sunglasses, which are found at Neiman’s and Nordstrom, will also be tested at the Optical Shop of Aspen this year.

But Toms isn’t looking to stray too far outside its core footwear. Instead, it’s focusing on international and domestic store growth, as well as developing its e-commerce presence.

“You’re not going to see stilettos from Toms. You’re not going to see a hiking boot from Toms,” Mycoskie said. “You’re not going to see an oversaturation or over-merchandizing in terms of silhouette.”

View Slideshow