Sneakersnstuff is in growth and expansion mode.
The specialty sneaker retailer, which was founded in 1999 by Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson, who opened the first store in Stockholm, has grown by 85 percent this year, according to Fagerlind.
Earlier this year it partnered with FSN Capital, a private equity investment fund, which acquired the company from the founders and its former investors, and then set up a new holding company. That holding company bought all of the shares in Sneakersnstuff, which is valued at $95 million, and the majority of the money that the founders received from the acquisition was reinvested into the new holding company.
“We found the right partner with FSN Capital. They know nothing about the sneaker business and trust our judgment with growing the company,” said Fagerlind. “Investors are moving out of old retail, but we want to continue to offer shopping destinations, build out an experience and scale without getting rid of that.”
Fagerlind said that as opposed to opening one store a year, they will up that to two and the goal is to operate 12 to 15 stores. They currently run five units, including its Meatpacking District location in New York, which opened last year.
Before the year is out, SNS will plant its flag in Los Angeles and has decided on a nonconventional location: Venice Beach, but not along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Fagerlind said while staying at a hotel in Santa Monica he ran along Venice and asked their broker to look into retail spaces on the beach, which is now mostly dedicated to souvenir and surf shops.
“Venice is what L.A. is like from our perspective,” said Fagerlind. “Going to downtown L.A. or West Hollywood and Melrose felt like New York to us.”
The shop, which is designed by Jenny Askenfors of Bofink Design Studio, will embrace its location and merge Mexican hacienda, surf and souvenir shop design references along with elements from Muscle Beach.
Fagerlind said since launching the New York store, which will open its bar later this year, vendors such as Nike and Adidas have increased allocations. But Fagerlind still says these brands aren’t acting global enough in their strategy and there is too much regional segmentation. While many brands have focused on their direct-to-consumer strategies, Fagerlind believes they will always need specialty retail stores in some capacity.
“They need validation. We’ve seen them try to do this before and it hasn’t worked. It’s all about belonging to something and the customer feels that way when they visit our shops,” said Fagerlind.
Now the focus is on opening stores in Asia, doubling down on events that stick with the consumer, investing in the private label and offering a more personalized experience online.