|Aerosoles chief executive officer, president
and director, Jules Schneider
For more than two decades, Aerosoles has become a brand synonymous with fashionable and comfortable footwear for women, staying true to its promise of comfort with its full-range of styles that are made only from the softest choice leathers. From pumps, boots, and sandals, every piece of Aerosole shoe has been crafted to provide as much comfort as possible to women as they go about their different lifestyles
As the perfect post-winter pick-me-up the brand has decided to pursue an interesting play of colors of warm and cool tones—ranging from flirtatious red to the yellow warm hues of Pomegranate, Saffron and Poppy.
The Manila Times had the chance to interview Aerosoles chief executive officer, president and director, Jules Schneider and executive vice president Karen Sadik, during their visit to Manila. The following is a Q&A as they talked about the company, their latest collection and why they prefer making shoes for women.
The Manila Times (TMT): How did Aerosoles start out
Jules Schneider: We used to be in the business of Kenneth Cole before we spun off. The reason for this is because we came across a technology that allowed us to put comfort and style into product. It gave a lot of comfort into the shoes. What happened was Ken didn’t believe much in research development and technology development and my partner at that time was the head designer. We felt we can develop it into a lot of different things. So we pretty much span out and said we’re going to go for it. And so there was this concept that we thought costumers wanted to be able to be comfortable. You see, there was a time in New York, when everybody was walking around in nice outfits but then they’re wearing sneakers. And I said, this isn’t really good—in fact it’s worse than being a fashion victim. The concept we’re saying was that we can develop what this represents into all sorts of categories of footwear. We felt that we can really create something special—and definitely we did. Now, 24 years later, we are still constantly innovating, developing and coming up with new concepts about how and what comfort footwear could look like. So that has been our passion, our dream, and that’s what we keep doing.
TMT: In how many countries can Aerosoles be found and do you have further plans for expansion?
Karen Sadik: Aerosoles is already in around 13 or 14 countries, and we definitely want to expand. Part of the trip is making sure that we have the right partners. We need to find the right partners to understand what each market needs. We certainly would like to continue growing internationally. To support that, we do a lot of things. One is we do a lot of product innovation in the US through our own stores and we were able to share that to people we do business with.
What we really get excited about is the ability to create new and different things and be consistent with what the brand stands for and just lots of fun years ahead with clients.
We are going to open up five stores next year. So everyone in the company is really excited. We want to bring new product every month.
The consumers are incredibly active. They are always looking for new things in our stores so we are working on trying to make sure that we can keep that supply chain open.
TMT: How would you describe your latest collection?
Karen Sadik: In the materials, we are doing a lot of the exotic—the snakes, the lizards, coco prints. We have a lot of styles with the back zipper, which is a big trend. A lot of the wedges we’ve done are either wrapped with cork or raffia. We also did a lot of red this season. The neutrals—a lot of tans—a lot of metallics and pale pink have already started to do well. And then with the fall, with the colors we will do some orange, emerald green and a bluey purple. And we have actually done pretty well with purple.
TMT: What kind of lifestyle do you have in mind for this latest collection?
Karen Sadik: I think the lifestyle that we attempt to attract is always the same. We are just always looking to broaden that group. But we always attempt to give the costumer practical, trend-right, fashionable shoes with great value—shoes that she can wear for the weekend, for work, and she can wear to go out. And we do have more practical costumer because we are of that value price point.
At least with the US—I’m not sure about the Philippines—over 80 percent of our customers in the have full time jobs outside. She wants to look good, but she wants to be able to be comfortable all day. So all styles that get developed every season are always attempted to be on that same thing but then bringing in whatever the new trends or the new looks are so that she looks on trend for herself.
TMT: Do you also have shoes for men?
Jules Schneider: Men are the worse consumers in the world! They buy black, they buy brown and they buy sneakers. That’s it. In fact, they don’t even buy. It is their wives or girlfriends who get them the black and the brown shoes. Men just buy sneakers. And they are not creative either. They don’t want anything new. They want what they bought yesterday and they’re going to use it until the end of time. Look, if there’s a man and a woman in the house, the woman’s got the closet with shoes falling all over the place. And the man has a t-shirt, a pair of sneakers and a suit somewhere. That’s it. Done.
We had a men’s collection before and it did OK. It wasn’t great. The concept was great. Women are just so much more open about trying things and doing new things. Men just won’t try new things. So that’s why we stopped.
Article by Jamie Elona, Ed Uy