Payless on Wednesday began offering a limited-edition holiday collection of footwear, inspired by Martha Stewart’s everyday life and style.
The new line, available at payless.com, is — for now — just a capsule collection for holiday. The line was in collaboration with Sequential Brands Group Inc., the brand management firm that owns the Martha Stewart brand.
Sequential’s chief executive officer Karen Murray said the new partnership “complements our strategy for the Martha Stewart brand, which is to create beautiful, high-quality products and make them available at an affordable price where consumers shop.”
Stewart last month partnered with Aerosoles for a separate footwear line called Martha Stewart for Aerosoles. She is also Aerosole’s brand ambassador. The line at Payless is part of the core Martha Everyday brand. The limited-edition capsule at Payless for includes a strappy, stiletto sandal; a flat, kitten-heel mule and two variations of sling-backs. Price points range from $29.99 to $34.99. Additional styles — casual sandals, sneakers and slip-ons — are on the agenda for spring 2019.
The lifestyle maven said, “Whenever I am designing items for my customers, I always want to give them the best possible product at the most affordable price. When I started designing this line for Payless, I wanted the styles to embody what I look for when shopping for shoes: on-trend yet classic and timeless. I was inspired to create shoes for the holiday collection that were suited for any festive occasion, so that meant having everything from chic basic blacks to a touch of holiday sparkle with our signature “gilver” color, which is a fun mixture of gold and silver.
“For as long as I’ve been in business, my goal has been to deliver well-made, beautiful products to my audience, at the right price,” Stewart said.
For Martin R. Wade 3rd, ceo of Payless, the combination of classic, fashionable styles at accessible prices was a “match made in footwear heaven.” The new partnership with Martha Everyday also fits with the “This is the new Payless” mantra at the company.
Wade joined Payless on Aug. 17, 2017, when the company emerged from bankruptcy. Creditors now own the company, after converting some of their debt to equity.
“We asked customers what she thought we needed to do to get her back to shopping at Payless. They said they wanted to see new brands, new categories and a focus on payless.com. We asked about the Martha Stewart brand, and she said, ‘Wow, sensational. We love her and we love what she stands for.’ Martha has great products at great prices. That’s totally Payless,” Wade said of the new brand introduction.
He also said the retailer has been expanding in other categories that might interest her while she is shopping at the store, whether that’s a hat or glove for the kids, socks made from recycled plastic bottles, bags and fragrances. In the works is a selection of nail polish, with plans for other cosmetic items on the display tables.
In an effort to drum up attention to the company’s “We’re back” marketing campaign, the company last week opened a fake luxury store called Palessi in Santa Monica. It was a ploy that had fashionistas paying for what they thought was a high-end Italian footwear brand.
“It was our way of demonstrating to the world that not only are we back, we always have and do have high-quality product. The Palessi activity showed that people are willing to pay more money than what we are charging for real product in our Payless Stores,” the ceo said.
But wasn’t there concern that duped fashionistas wouldn’t be too pleased about having the wool pulled over their eyes? “Everybody was a great sport. We gave them their money back, and we gave them their shoes for free,” Wade said.
The average price point at Payless is $20. According to Wade, the company targets the value consumer that is, on average, aged 34 and has an annual average household income of up to $75,000. Dan Castle of Castle Brand Group worked with Stewart when he was at Sequential. Payless became a client, and it was Castle who introduced Stewart to both Payless and Aerosoles.