MILAN — Glamorous shoes seem to be a woman’s obsession, pandemic notwithstanding.
Banking on the appetite for accessible and versatile styles, sisters Perla, Antonia and Margherita Alessandri decided to breathe new life into the house brand of their family’s footwear manufacturing company with a total revamp.
The three siblings cut their teeth at the family’s shoemaker Grey Mer Srl, which since the ’80s has served as a third-party manufacturer for international luxury brands in addition to operating a namesake house label. But they felt time was ripe to launch their solo project, called 3Juin.
It draws its name from the date the brand was established on June 3, 2020, and it also nods to the three sisters and their different personalities. Perla Alessandri said it holds a broader meaning, being the first day Italy emerged from the first lockdown last year.
“Our aim was to develop a new story that was better in sync with who we are, compared to the legacy left by the [Grey Mer] brand,” said Alessandri, who oversees creative direction and distribution.
“We developed the brand keeping in mind the needs of today’s younger customers, offering versatile styles and a price point that is accessible,” she said. Incidentally, this is not her only footwear gig, as she’s also cofounder of Alevì, a shoe company established in 2018 alongside Los Angeles-based public relations expert Valentina Micchetti.
Priced between 250 euros and 350 euros, 3Juin’s collections are positioned in the advanced contemporary segment boasting a style that Alessandri described as colorful and versatile. Cue sleek pumps with spool kitten-heels, chunky-soled combat boots and penny loafers, as well as flamboyant sandals with feathers sprouting from the forward strap. For spring 2022, flat sandals with colored ankle laces as well as clogs and slippers further expand the brand’s offering, done in a color palette that combines neutrals with lilac, aquamarine blue and coral red.
Launched at retail for spring 2021, the brand secured a partner in Milan-based showroom Massimo Bonini that has helped 3Juin fix its distribution strategy on the foundation set by the Grey Mer label, which Alessandri described as “too commercial.”
“With 3Juin our goal was to position the collections as an entry price available at luxury retailers,” she explained.
The first collection gained the interest of more than 30 retailers, especially in Italy with some incursions in the U.S., Russia and the Middle East. These include Selfridges in London; That Concept Store at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, and Noone in Moscow, among others.
For fall 2021, 3Juin is introducing its first vegan capsule collection, which is crafted from animal-free textile materials and boasts a regenerated sole. It launches at select retailers — a tighter group compared to the brand’s network of wholesale accounts — in September and includes two pumps, one featuring side gaps, and a stretch bootie, all featuring a wet-look, vinyl-like effect despite being made of Lycra. A veg collection is in the pipeline for spring 2022, as well, using such materials as linen and cork.
Starting from fall, a key focus is on expanding the brand’s footprint to more doors, especially on a global scale, taking advantage of better-than-expected sell-out rates for the first season. “Those retailers which made a bet were rewarded,” Alessandri said.
Aiming to address the U.S. market more consistently, Alessandri explained that the prime focus will be on local multiband boutiques rather than department stores, whose performances have been and still are mixed in the wake of the pandemic. For the Asian market, the goal is to court customers from the region during their travels to Europe.
While wholesale accounts for the largest part of the brand’s sales, 3Juin shoes are also available via a directly operated e-commerce site, which saw demand surge in tandem with the brand’s communication activities online and on social media, Alessandri said.