The Chooze founder opens up about the label’s next chapter under new owner Synclaire Brands.
1 What led you to sell your company last month?
“I had been watching Synclaire from afar for years, and when I met Evan [Cagner, president and CEO], we started a conversation about how a partnership could help take Chooze to the next level, and it evolved from there. We had been running Chooze for seven years with a very small team, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. But we reached a point where we realized that we need more to continue to grow. Synclaire is a perfect fit — their expertise, professionalism and dedication are impressive. They are so connected to the changes going on at retail, and Evan has a great vision for the future and how to tackle the big challenges facing our industry today.”
2 What new opportunities will Synclaire open up for Chooze?
“Synclaire has extensive distribution capabilities, so that is going to allow us to hit some different price points and channels, as well as explore international expansion. I’m also excited about Synclaire’s direct-to-consumer business, Kidsshoes.com.
Online is our biggest point of distribution, so this will be a great addition to our mix. Synclaire also has excellent customer service and social media teams, which will help support what we’ve been doing on those fronts.”
3 What will be your role?
“I will serve as creative director, overseeing the brand’s vision and design direction, which is what I love to do most. I’m already experiencing the advantages of being freed up from the many business operations associated with running a brand. I’ve seen my creativity heighten. I have some exciting product ideas to unveil soon that will allow kids to express their individuality at a whole new level.”
4 In today’s business climate, is it more difficult for smaller, independent brands to survive?
“It’s incredibly tough. If we were attempting to launch Chooze now, we’d never be able to do it — for many reasons. Advertising and social media have changed dramatically with the new algorithms, making it much more challenging and costprohibitive to get started and get your message out. There are major new challenges on the production and sourcing end. Consumer behavior has changed drastically. And obviously, the specialty store channel has seen tremendous upheaval.”
5 Chooze’s unique mismatched concept has been a key factor in its success. How can you keep the brand fresh?
“When we started, we were one of the only brands focused on mismatched styles. Now many brands are dabbling in the aesthetic, and it’s not so different anymore. We always want to be ahead of trends, so we’re working on ideas for other products that will be unique to the market. That’s my goal: to always be offering something different. The whole concept of Chooze is to inspire kids with creativity.”
05/ Five Questions