The shoe brand Velasca, which goes direct to the consumer, is coming to New York

MILAN – – Velasca is preparing to bring its accessible Italian style to the US

The director-to-consumer shoe brand, founded in 2013 in Milan by Enrico Casati and Jacopo Sebastio, is about to open its first US store in NoLIta, New York.

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Sebastio said the company signed the 10-year lease for a retail space at 250 Elizabeth Street in March 2020, but the opening was postponed due to bureaucratic issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can’t wait to open the store, which already has 800 pairs of shoes on sale,” said Sebastio, who added that the boutique will serve as a warehouse for online shipments in North America. “We have good sales in America, but since we didn’t have a fulfillment center in the country, the return obligation weighed on our profits. With the business now, we have great potential to grow in the North American market, especially through e-commerce. “

Velasca was born as a brand with a mission to connect Italian artisans with global consumers. In 2013 Velasca started its activities with an online shop and one year later opened its first boutique on Milan’s Via Tortona.

“As our number increased tenfold in two months after the store opened, we decided to convert our digital company into an omnichannel business,” said Sebastio, who added half of the company’s sales as of December 31, 2019 were from the internet and the other half was generated by the brand’s directly operated brick and mortar stores.

Along with the store in New York, Velasca is expanding its retail network with a store in Naples, which opens this year. The brand currently operates nine boutiques in Italy, one store in Paris and one in London.

Like the majority of companies in the fashion industry, Velasca, which has two private equity investors, P101 and MIP Sgr, had to adapt to the new market scenario caused by the pandemic in 2020 and, thanks to detailed data analysis, succeeded in redirecting consumers the online shop. While Velasca is primarily known for its high-quality men’s formal shoes, which sell for between 180 and 250 euros, the company invested in developing more informal styles during the lockdown, particularly for summer shoes and booties for winter.

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“Thanks to the flexibility of our company and close relationships with craftsmen, we have managed to limit the losses and we closed 2020 with a turnover of 8 million euros, unchanged compared to 2019,” said Sebastio, who also “ a strong positive result expected rebound effect this year. “

Sebastio, who expects the company’s sales to increase 60 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, said Velasca will continue to grow thanks to the introduction of product categories.

In particular, the company is working on expanding its range to include women’s shoes. “We do not plan to launch hyperfeminine shoes, but it will be an interpretation of our designs that can already be considered unisex,” said Sebastio.

At the same time, the company’s aim is to become a lifestyle brand and introduce a range of Made in Italy pieces, including knitwear, jeans, outerwear, pants and shirts.

“In five years we plan to offer men and women a complete wardrobe that reflects the authentic Italian style,” added Sebastio.

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