LONDON — Sneaker manufacturers have had a superb yr amid international lockdowns and motion restricted to grocery runs and park walks for a lot of the final 12 months.
But some labels have resonated with prospects higher than others. Gothenburg, Sweden-based Axel Arigato was amongst people who actually struck a chord with audiences world wide — it might be its Scandinavian aptitude, aggressive worth factors or the solid of cool personalities, from throughout ages and background, showing in its its Instagram-friendly campaigns.
As a outcome, enterprise shot up throughout the pandemic: To date, the corporate stated it noticed 92 % progress throughout its on-line, retail and wholesale channels and the determine is projected to achieve triple digits by the top of the yr.
In 2020, annual turnover was $60 million, with gross sales rising 60 % in comparison with 2019.
Cofounders Max Svardh and Albin Johansson aren’t able to decelerate anytime quickly. They are constructing on the momentum, with an formidable retail rollout beginning with a brand new flagship opening in Paris this week. Openings in Munich, Berlin and Milan are slated for later this yr, whereas a U.S. rollout is within the works for 2022.
The duo can also be increasing their supply past their standard sneakers, with greater seasonal shoe collections and a completely fledged ladies’s put on line making its debut this fall.
“We just kept going, creating new products, new content and developing our communication through all our different channels. What did change is that we raised the bar internally and defined what is our vision,” Johansson stated.
As the world reopens, the model’s progress doesn’t present any indicators of slowing, with customers flocking again to the shops to get contemporary sneakers: Its Stockholm and London flagships had their finest month ever in May, whereas its Copenhagen location noticed a 121 % improve in gross sales in comparison with the identical interval final yr.
“We’ve always been super keen on expanding our physical retail. No matter if there’s a pandemic or not, this has always been our mind-set and will remain our mind-set going forward,” added Johansson. “Especially now that people want to go out again, we see the Paris and our other European openings as key.”
The duo has been scouting a location in Paris’ stylish Marais space for over 5 years till they landed on a spot on Rue Vieille du Temple.
The new house has the identical gallery really feel the model has come to be identified for, with heavy concrete juxtaposed towards splashes of colour, yellow travertine podiums scattered throughout the house to show the footwear and a LED freestanding display screen used to stream artistic content material.
“We don’t want walls filled with products or shoes. We want to center the product on podiums in the middle of this space. We often get this reaction of ‘is it a showroom or is it a store?’ And that’s the feeling we are going for,” Svardh stated.
Even if the direct-to-consumer enterprise is booming, the model nonetheless places worth into wholesale. Earlier this yr, it debuted a pop-up in London’s Selfridges whereas a brand new shop-in-shop in Galeries Lafayette is within the works for August.
“It’s about positioning the brand at the right place and within the right communities, whether that means opening our own stores, being present on the right online channels or having the right wholesale partners, that really doesn’t matter,” Svardh added.
To maintain prospects’ appetites going, the model is broadening its supply to extra seasonal footwear — there will probably be beach-appropriate kinds for summer time and a wider choice of boots for winter — in addition to a broader ladies’s ready-to-wear assortment. This marks the primary time the duo branched past their standard monitor fits to outerwear, knits, clothes and extra.
“We’ve put a lot more resources into the category for us to be able to elevate it. We knew we wanted to create products that aesthetically fit perfectly next to the shoes,” the duo added. “Our number-one priority is to find our voice within the category, if that turns into big growth that’s great, but if not, we’re not dying over here because of it.”
Indeed, given its strong sneaker enterprise the model has put itself ready to take care of wholesome money movement and be capable of fund its enlargement ambitions. Last yr it obtained a 56 million euro funding from Eurazeo to speed up a few of its plans however had already been worthwhile.
“The ambition was to put ourselves in a position where we don’t need investment, and this remains our attitude going forward. We consider opportunities when the timing is right, but we don’t want to be forced to raise any more capital. Now we are in a fortunate position where we are far from forced,” Johansson stated. “Of course, the bigger you get, the more challenging it is to maintain that sort of growth. But we are confident that the business will continue like this if we keep working on defining the brand and our product lines, keeping it all quite narrow, opening stores and raising more awareness.”