Hickies, the two-year-old American company that launched an innovative elastic lacing system for shoes and raised $4.2 million in funding through the Collaborative Fund and the venture arm of an unnamed global footwear brand, has sold more than one million packages with 28 laces since its launch in July 2012 and is currently building its distribution network in Europe.
The elastic laces, which turn a sneaker into a slip-on, are available in 16 color combinations and come in packages with two sets of 14 laces, sold at a retail price of €15. A company that is manufacturing spare parts for Apple and Samsung produces them in Mexico. The company has 30 factories worldwide, so a European production would also be possible in the future.
The brand made its first colorful presentation in Europe with a stand at the Bread & Butter show in Berlin earlier this month where buyers were invited to try on its distinctive product.
The European headquarters in Zug in Switzerland were opened at the end of the last year. They are managed by Peter Mahrer, chief business development officer, who previously worked for Under Armour as president EMEA and for Puma as head of global sales; and by Ralf Puschmann, general manager for Europe, previously director of sales operations and supply chain international for Puma. The European distribution center is located in Neu-Isenburg, near Frankfurt.
Sales agents have already been hired in England, France, Germany and Austria. Hickies has also signed contracts with local distributors in Spain, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The brand will be sold through the sporting goods and fashion retail channels. The brand has been sold since April in Germany and since last November in Spain. Contracts with local distribution partners in Scandinavia will be signed in the next two months.
Hickies is currently sold in 25 markets worldwide, including Europe, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. The brand is also sold worldwide via its own website, hickies.com.