FREDERICTON – New Brunswick-based Hartt Shoe Company, which was relaunched last year after being closed since 1999, will soon have their products on the market in the Big Apple.
This week the company announced that their shoes will retail in New York beginning in the fall of this year. The announcement came after the company participated in New York Men’s MRKet, a leading global menswear show.
Hartt Shoe Company CEO Andrew Bedford says they aren’t announcing the retailer yet.
“We don’t like to steal the thunder from the customer. This is going to be a part of their Fall product lineup and how they announce that is up to them,” said Bedford in an interview with Huddle. “But I can say our first retailer in New York is an independent chain.”
Bedford says securing Hartt’s first U.S. retailer is a significant step in growing the company’s distribution network.
“As our first U.S. retailer, it’s a major foot in the door and to do it in that market is significant. We can leverage that when we’re talking to other retailers and attending other trade events from across the U.S.,” he said.
“If someone comes up to our booth and says, ‘where are you located?’ we can name off cities in Canada as well as New York. It’s a feather in the cap, so to speak.”
It’s currently the middle of the 2018 buying season for most fashion retailers, so Bedford says Hartt shoes is in the process of securing more retail distributors.
“Right now we’re in touch with probably 40 to 50 retailers that have expressed an interest in our product,” he said. “We’re hustling on our end to close as many deals as we can before the clock runs out on the buying window.”
Though the company is happy to have secured a U.S. retailer, Bedford says what’s more significant is the excitement around the brand in general when they go to trade shows like MRKet.
“We had a lot of amazing feedback and as people came into our booth in New York, the response was always, ‘A Canadian heritage brand? Cool!’ They were excited by that,” said Bedford. “That tells us that we’re heading in the right direction and that our product is validated and there’s likely a market demand for this type of project.”