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Former Vans execs in U.S. and Canada start Urshuz

By Shelby Stanger
November 09, 2011 7:44 AM

Former Vans executives from the U.S. and Canada have started a footwear company that has shoes with interchangeable uppers and bottoms, letting customers mix and match products for different looks, putting them together almost like Legos.


The company also has a strong sustainable business model.


Urshuz adCalled Urshuz, and already selling to select boutiques in Canada and the U.S., we caught up with company founder and former Vans Head of Design Grant Delgatty to find out about the brand and their plans for distribution.


Who came up with the concept for Urshuz and why?

I came up with the concept for Urshuz a few years ago. For years, I designed for footwear brands like Vans and DVS, and every season I would have to create each new color and material combination based on what 'we' (the company) felt the consumer was looking for.


Consumers often asked me questions like, "Why don't you try this color on that bottom?" This is when I began to think, “Wouldn't it be great if the consumer could have more creative input, and have the ability to actually design their own combinations?"


With my idea for the Urshuz interchangeable system, consumers now had the ability to create and recreate their own looks and styles.


What's the mission behind the company?

UrshuzIt is our mission to engage consumers in the creative process, allow them to express their individuality, and evoke environmental consciousness. We do this by offering interchangeable shoes that are also recyclable.


Who's backing the company? How is it financed?

Claude Roy, the CEO of Momentum Distribution, a firm with Canadian distribution rights to several footwear and apparel brands, privately funds Urshuz. Claude and I became friends while I worked at Vans and Momentum distributed Vans to Canada.


Who is involved? 

Greg Hagerman, Grant Delgatty, Melanie Morier, Claude RoyTeam Urshuz: Greg Hagerman, Grant Delgatty, Melanie Morier, Claude Roy

In addition to Claude and myself, Greg Hagerman, who has extensive sales experience (formerly VP Sales of Vans and COO of GMI which licenses footwear for companies like True Religion and Ben Sherman), is also an investor and consultant. He was a colleague of mine during my time at Vans.


Where are you selling? What types of shops, what regions? 

We're mostly selling in trendy, urban boutiques in the U.S. and Eastern Canada. In September, we launched our transactional website, so consumers can buy Urshuz online through Urshuz.com, which is proving to be a great selling channel.


We're in the process of completing a distribution deal with a firm in Japan, and we've been getting requests for distributing rights from people all over the world, so consumers in many countries are sure to see our brand in the future.


See Page 2 for Urshuz target markets, price points, more


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