I must say I was stunned by how much product was being shown at Agenda by the People’s Movement, a new footwear brand owned by Kevin Flanagan.
The brand is a startup, and I was surprised how much they had accomplished in a short amount of time.
The People’s Movement has 18 styles and colors available for a spring delivery on Feb. 15 and 30 styles and colors for fall, with a June delivery.
It was the brand’s first trade show, and Kevin said he was anxious during the first hour or so, which started slow. But then more retailers began coming by, and their positive reaction to the line got him excited. So excited that he and brother-in-law Mark Wystrach, who handles marketing for the company, had quite the bar bill later that night.
One of the big risks Kevin took financially with the new startup was buying inventory blind - meaning without preorders - for the spring delivery. He was relieved at the show because retailers responded so well.
But now he has a new worry, admittedly a good one to have. The spring delivery is in February and the fall delivery isn’t until June. If the spring inventory sells out, there will be a gap before the brand can deliver more shoes.
But that was a concern for a different time. At Agenda, the brand had a basket full of orders and a promise from Dave Nash of Sun Diego for a buildout at Sun Diego’s UTC store that resembles the People’s Movement cardboard-constructed booth at Agenda.
The People’s Movement products are eco-friendly, and use plastic bags that wash up on the shores of Bali as a design element. That has gotten the brand interest from stores such as Convert, Randy Brewer’s new environmentally conscious store in Berkeley and Seed Peoples Market at The Camp in Costa Mesa.
"The shoe world in our industry has certainly changed over the last 3-4 years and it’s brought some new opportunities including The People’s Movement," Dave Nash of Sun Diego told me. "Flanny’s coming into the market with new fresh ideas on product and with the giveback, concerned for and actually helping the earth mentality…and I think they are doing a great job of 'attacking' the market through a social media blitzkrieg."
The company is backed by a group of investors from Connect SDSI, including Jeff Kearl, the Stance CEO and Chairman of Skullcandy.
See our slide show, above, for photos of the People’s Movement products.