Crocs has staged a comeback with a new line of boat shoes, wedges, peep-toes and sneakers – but will the haters ever approve
20:27 GMT, 19 March 2012
Love 'em or hate 'em Crocs are here to stay and that's only partly due to the popularity of the infamously oafish rubber clog.
As the company spiralled towards ruin in 2009, CEO John McCarvel realised that in order to survive it would need to change direction and offer consumers something different.
Now, owing to the efforts of the product design team, Crocs sales have skyrocketed once again thanks to a line of wedges, flats and boat shoes that account for 54 per cent of current sales.
Acceptable fashion Crocs has boosted its sales since dismal figures in 2009 forced the company to rethink designs and come up with new collections to expand the brand
Mr McCarvel told CNN: 'Our main focus today is getting new customers to understand that we're no longer just a clog.
'I think this is our biggest challenge as a brand today…getting people to take a look at us in a different way.'
Colour pop! The famously colourful Croc has been reimagined as a line of sneakers, peep-toes, wedges and boat shoes that despite their appearance deliver the same comfort as the originals
Recognising there was a need to
evolve he said: 'We had to innovate our way out of the situation we had
put ourselves in.' Which meant coming up with dramatically different
designs to please the loyalists and attract the sceptics.
to the original Croc slip-on has always been fierce. Blogs and websites
devoted to hateful ranting about the ugliness of the shoe have drawn
attention from millions of fashionistas outraged by the ubiquitous
Expansion: The new collection is responsible for over half the sales and last year the company reached a total of $1billion in revenue largely thanks to the revamp of the shoe design
But the debut of the new, arguable
hipper, styles have contributed to last year's $150million profit and
$1billion in total revenue.
About the original design, Dale Bathum, Crocs' senior vice
president of product design noted: 'A lot of
the haters didn't like the way other people looked in them, but they did
maybe resent a little bit the comfort those people had and that they
had the courage to go ahead and go out in public and wear them.'
Mr Croc: CEO John McCarvel admits the first time he went home wearing a pair of the rubber clogs his wife asked him what they were and called them 'ugly'
Now though, according to Christy Saito, Crocs' vice president of design: '[People] say, “Oh my God, where can I buy these” There has been hardly any resistance.'
To support this significant increase in sales, Crocs opened 120 new stores in the United States and aims to open another 100 stores this year. It is also expanding into new overseas markets, which now account for 65 per cent of sales.
Brand strategy: Ugg Australia also rolled out an expanded collection in 2005 moving on from the success of its sheepskin-lined boot when it opened its first ever store in New York
Crocs are not the only brand to have changed up their inventory and added stand-alone stores to keep fans interested.
Ugg Australia, known so well for its cozy sheepskin boot, expanded its range of footwear to include sneakers, wedges and other snug slippers in 2005 when it opened its first store in New York's fashionable Soho.