Taft, the direct-to-consumer men’s footwear brand specializing in unique, bold shoe designs, opened its first retail property and flagship store in New York City. The store showcases the latest designs from the brand and offers customers the first opportunity to try on Taft shoes before buying.
Founded in 2014, the digitally native brand’s standout designs, accessible price-points, and inclusive, community-centric approach have earned Taft a dedicated following with actors, athletes and influencers alike. The decision for the Utah-based brand to open a brick and mortar property in NYC was made in response to rapidly increasing demand for their shoes from their consumer base across the country.
“When we dreamed up Taft in our living room, we had big ambitions, and having our own store was absolutely one of them,” said Kory Stevens, founder of Taft. “Seeing our products displayed on shelves and in the hands of our customers is a dream come true. Being an online-only brand, we miss out on the magical moment when a customer sees the shoes for the first time and tries them on. We’re super excited for people to get that experience in our first store. We are grateful for supportive partners like Fifth Wall and Acadia that have helped us make this exciting next step for Taft a reality.”
Taft’s flagship store is located at 135 Prince Street between Wooster and West Broadway (an Acadia Realty Trust property) and will service Soho neighborhood shoppers alongside other popular DTC apparel upstarts, including Faherty and UNTUCKit. Fifth Wall, an investor in both Taft and UNTUCKit, is known for helping cult-favorite DTC brands identify retail opportunities to activate in real life and connect with their communities.
The store is designed by Bobby Redd, the retail design firm known for transforming digitally native brands into creative retail presences (Bonobos Airstream mobile showroom, Allbirds concept store in Soho). Customers are greeted with the latest styles displayed prominently in the storefront. The interior features inviting touches, including a curated blend of vintage and new furniture from couches to armchairs making customers feel as if they’re trying on shoes in their best friend’s living room. The focal point of the space is an iconic shoe wall featuring 48 of Taft’s most popular styles such as the Jack boot, Jack shoe and Kennedy shoe.
The flagship store caps a year of exponential growth for the direct to consumer brand. After bootstrapping $20 million in less than four years, Taft took on funding for the first time in July 2018 from top VCs and fellow entrepreneurs — and NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Andre Iguodala came forward to invest in the seed round. The funding and retail location will allow Taft to further establish itself as a fast-rising upstart in the men’s footwear space.