Birdie is a 35-year-old lawyer with a couple of kids, living in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. She takes care of everybody around her and when she comes home, she puts her slippers on and has a martini.
Birdie’s not real but symbolic of San Francisco slipper company Birdies’ target demographic. She’s classic, chic and just helped the firm pull in a $2 million seed round. The capital brings the company out of beta, a state it's been in for the past year and a half, with Birdies now ready to make a bigger splash in the market. The seed was led by Forerunner Ventures, which has also backed companies such as Jet.com and Dollar Shave Club, and included Slow Ventures, Graph Ventures and Social Capital, among others. “We really want to focus on building the brand,” said cofounder and chief executive officer Bianca Gates. “The brand is about the home. It’s about entertaining. It’s about looking and feeling great and so we feel like we have a lot of work to do to build that brand proposition with customers.” Gates, a former executive at Facebook, founded the company with president Marisa Sharkey, who has also worked at Ross Stores and Bain. To further push the brand out to the market, Birdies is set to open a flagship as early as October of this year on Union Street in San Francisco. The 1,500-square-foot space will be accompanied by another 1,500 square feet of office space. The property will look like a home inside and out in keeping with the brand and a product aimed at helping wearers maintain a sense of style within their homes. “The idea’s not to go retail,” Gates said. “We want to focus on e-commerce but we do believe having a flagship where people can come in and get a sense of the brand is incredibly valuable.” Birdies does have a small wholesale business, but its growth is not a main focus of the business, at least in the near term, the founders said. Selling at other retailers largely grew out of requests to carry the slippers with the company taking on accounts where it has made sense. That includes Anthem Home in San Francisco and Kicks in Menlo Park. “We’ve been able to respond opportunistically to some high-end boutiques,” Sharkey said, adding that by the fall, the brand will be in at most eight to 10 stores. As for category expansion, it’s likely, according to Gates, who declined to provide further detail on that front.“Right now we are really focused on the slipper market because we think it’s a huge opportunity,” she said. “It’s been a sleepy area forever. There’s been no real effort in rethinking the slipper category. We want to be the slipper for the active woman.” For More West Coast Coverage in WWD:Nasty Gal Finds Its Way in VintageAdidas Outdoor Builds on Parley for the Ocean CollaborationAt Westfield, Former Parking Gets Spun Into Luxury Apartments
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion