Allbirds’ profitable business soars higher as it continues opening stores
Allbirds, the eco-friendlier and profitable online consumer-direct brand best known for its merino wool sneakers, is growing its product line and its customer base by opening stores even in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The company, which opened its first stores in San Francisco and Manhattan in 2018, has continued to open new locations in 2020, including its first store on Philadelphia’s Walnut Street reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The 2,090-square-foot store in Philly is one of 23 locations stretching from the U.S. to New Zealand, home of co-founder Tim Brown, a former footballer (AKA soccer player) and entrepreneur. Joey Zwillinger, the other co-founder and an engineering and renewables expert, is from San Francisco.
Travis Boyce, head of global retail operations for Allbirds, told the Inquirer that the decision to open in Philadelphia was informed by its online sales data that showed the company’s products had a significant following among local consumers. The Walnut St. location was deemed a good fit, Mr. Boyce said, because the “area has a great mix of shops and is a destination for a wide array of consumers, so it immediately came to mind as the perfect location for our first store in the city.”
Allbirds physical store expansion aligns with a broadening of its product range in recent years, which started with the addition of running shoes to the brand’s all-purpose sneaker. Since then it has added footwear choices, socks, underwear and a range of apparel, including t-shirts, sweaters and outerwear.
With all its growth to date, Allbirds remains committed to taking as little out of the environment as possible by finding new uses for material such as wool. The manufacturing process utilized by Allbirds in making its wool sneakers uses about 60 percent less energy compared to traditional synthetic shoe manufacturing.
The brand is very serious about its ecological bonafides. Allbirds’ co-founders offered to share how they make their sneakers with renewable materials with Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos so his company could ditch some of its oil-based manufacturing processes. Allbirds’ SweetFoam process is open sourced, so the free offer wasn’t just for Amazon.
- Our Story – Allbirds
- Allbirds, known for its wool sneaker, pushes for more brick-and-mortar stores even during COVID-19 – The Philadelphia Inquirer
- Allbirds CEO Joey Zwillinger on the startup’s $100 million round, profitability and SPAC mania – TechCrunch
- Why is Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job ripping it off? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Allbirds’ continued emphasis on opening physical stores at this point in time? Does the brand have any inherent operational or other advantages or disadvantages as it expands its physical presence?