By Matt Pillar, chief editor
May 2014 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
Since “inventing” the toe-bumpered sandal a decade ago, KEEN has taken the footwear industry by storm. Enabling any-channel inventory fluidity is key to its continued success.
KEEN is a fast-growth footwear company that was created when cofounders Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst set out to design a sandal that offered something no other sandal on the market could boast: toe protection.
Initially, Keen and Fuerst pitched the idea to major footwear brands and manufacturers. But they didn’t have any luck — no one “got” the concept of this style of footwear. Undaunted, the pair went to market on their own. They received a much warmer response from the retail audience at the 2003 Outdoor Retailer show, where brands like REI and Nordstrom bought into the concept without hesitation. By the end of the year, the last laugh was on the manufacturers that shunned the idea — Footwear News named KEEN the hottest launch of the year, the springboard of the now $300 million+ company.