When did you launch LUV Footwear?
We are launching at retail spring 2012.
Why did you decide on a line of women’s and kids ballerina flats?
It was serendipitous combination of two elements. The first was a concept I had rolling around my head to make a very simple, cute, easy and fun shoe that girls (like my daughter) and women around the world could wear that was not expensive. Similar to Croc's, I wanted it to have mass appeal, but different from Croc's, I wanted it to be attractive. Since the ballerina flat continues to be the most popular shoe style for women/girls, I set my sights to reinvent it.
From a technology stand point, the LUV ballerina flat utilizes my long time understanding of footwear technology and how a shoe can protect and support the foot. The LUV ballerina merges comfort, beauty, support, quality and affordability. I am so happy to introduce what we see as the next evolution of the ballerina flat to women and girls around the world.
The second element was an urge to create a brand that offered more to the consumer than just selling them product. I wanted to create a culture around a brand that somehow involved itself in a healthy way with its consumer. The Dove Foundation produced a video called Evolution which in many ways motivated me to realize the dream of the LUV brand. The video shows the process of an advertisement image starting with a model in a photo shoot and ending on a billboard through time laps photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hibyAJOSW8U
Besides making what we think is the most fun and modern ballerina flat, LUV is launching two programs that aim to encourage a wholesome and healthy attitude toward beauty, and inspire creativity. (1) The LUV Open Call welcomes artists/designers nationwide to submit their own artwork and enter the running to have heir artwork featured on a LUV ballerina and sold in stores nationwide. (2) The LUV Ambassador program offers girls real involvement in a fun, social, community oriented approach to brand building and design.
To find out more about both programs, visit www.luvfootwear.com
Our mission statement:
It is our belief that love is life's greatest gift. It is a gift with infinite potential, inspiring meaning, beauty, happiness and creativity in our world and our lives. At LUV Footwear, we aspire to contribute to that gift by creating a platform to encourage universal gestures of love through art and design. With the LUV ballerina flat we offer our first canvas for beautiful expressions. Intelligently constructed, anatomically shaped, and endlessly expressive, LUV Footwear upholds its responsibility to protect, support and adorn your feet. LUV Grows!
What inspires the designs/colors that you choose?
We are lucky to have an incredibly creative (albeit small) design team that can find inspiration within just about anything. A good conversation, an image in a magazine, the landscape of northern Italy, the street fashion in Taiwan, the bright colors of Mexico. Sensory experiences at large are always rich in inspiration… the colors, light, sounds of different environments. There is no limit!
How long have you worked in footwear and at what companies?
30 plus years. I started my career design consulting to Ugg, Nike, Puma, Gap, Avia, ESPRIT, Reebok, and a few others during which time I developed several footwear technology patents. Afterward I co-founded Ariat, a revolutionary equestrian footwear company that merged attractive design with comfort and function. I founded Michael Toschi International in 1999, where we create luxury men’s footwear hand crafted in Italy. In addition to incredible quality and beauty, all of our shoes feature Carbon Fiber Insoles (CIS Technology) for comfort.
What are the price points for the line and what are the materials used?
$32 Toddler, $37 Youth, $40 Adult. The outsole is EVA, the printed uppers are made of lycra, and other upper fabrications are made of various materials depending on style and season. The shoe is exceptionally light weight and comfortable, with color/pattern/texture changing seasonally.
Where can we buy the product in April?
Our online store: www.luvfootwear.com, Major department stores (Nordstrom, etc.). Chain stores (Lesters, etc.) and boutique children’s and adult shoe stores across the country.