Pay­less Cre­ates Martha Every­day Footwear

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY VICKI M. YOUNG

The hol­i­day col­lec­tion is part of a move by the re­tailer to in­clude more fash­ion and qual­ity in its of­fer­ings.

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 slipons — 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 high­end 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.

Martha Every­dayat Pay­less.

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