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Brown Shoe invests in new footwear company

Brown Shoe chief executive, Diane Sullivan, led a $9 million investment into Jack Erwin.

While Diane Sullivan, Brown Shoe Company chief executive, president and chairman, was looking for new ideas for growth and a fresh take on men’s shoes, she learned of a start-up company – Jack Erwin – from a son-in-law who had purchased its shoes. According to reports, Ms Sullivan became intrigued with the company’s business model of selling high-end men’s shoes for under $200 by designing the footwear itself in New York, making the product in Portugal and Spain, and then selling directly to shoppers through its own website.

“We looked at several companies, and Jack Erwin really stood out to us as a great incubator brand with high growth potential and an interesting, new business model,” said Ms Sullivan. Jack Erwin only started selling its footwear last year, but Brown Shoe is now leading a $9 million investment in the company. Jack Erwin had previously raised nearly $3 million in two separate rounds of investment.

While Brown Shoe rarely invests in young companies, there is some precedent for this move. In 2008, it invested in shoe brand Sam Edelman. Two years later, Brown Shoe acquired the company and is now building it into a global lifestyle brand that sells footwear and other apparel.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 6 of the November 2014 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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