Online footwear startup to try out brick-and-mortar
Birdies has gotten some new seed — seed funding that is.
The San Francisco startup, known for its stylish and comfortable house slippers, announced it has raised $2 million in seed funding. The round was led by Forerunner Ventures, the investors behind Jet.com and Dollar Shave Club, with participation from Slow Ventures, Graph Ventures, Social Capital and a few strategic individual investors.
Birdies plans to use the investment to accelerate brand growth through product expansion and increased marketing efforts. Additionally, the company will open its first store, on Union Street in San Francisco, this fall.
Birdies was launched in late 2015 by Bianca Gates, who previously spent five years leading retail partnerships at Facebook and Instagram, and Marisa Sharkey, former group VP of strategy at Ross Stores.The company specializes in fashionable-looking house slippers, or what it calls "true indoor' shoes." The chic slippers, which sell for $140, are lined with memory foam and arch support, with satin and faux shearling lining for softness, and rubber soles for indoor traction and outdoor wear.
"As evidenced by the number of early customers that have shared their own discovery of Birdies with friends, it's clear Bianca and Marisa have struck a chord in a somewhat forgotten, and certainly dated, category,” said Kirsten Green, founder and managing director of Forerunner Ventures. “We respect their founding story and are looking forward to being part of their team as they seize the potential to redefine indoor fashion with chic slippers."
"We love to entertain friends and family at home but could never find cozy footwear that made style sense and were also comfortable for around the house," said Gates, co-founder and CEO of Birdies. "Tired of running around barefoot, in our socks, or in frumpy slippers, we decided to leverage our design aesthetic and work with incredible manufacturers to solve this issue."
Study: Cash-free society could be here sooner than you think
A cash-free economy could be here sooner than expected — and American consumers are leading the charge.
Slightly more than half (54%) of consumers in the United States expect to stop using cash for shopping by 2020, according to “Lost in Transaction,” a report from payments provider Paysafe. The study, conducted among 3,038 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, examines how cash is merging with digital formats.
There is already rapid movement in this direction, as 54% of American consumers only visit an ATM once a month, and one in seven said they rarely carry cash at all. Meanwhile, two thirds (63%) of people said they rely less on cash than they did a year ago.
American consumers are championing the adoption of new payment methods. In fact, 14% already use cryptocurrencies, and 31% use mobile wallets, such as Android Pay and Apple Pay. This high adoption rate is linked to the increased confidence U.S. consumers have in using their mobile phones for shopping (72%).
Despite leading the way in alternative payment technologies, Americans are still hanging onto some old-fashioned methods. For example, 50% having written a check in the last month, compared to 30% of British consumers, and 40% of Canadians.
The wider adoption of mobile wallets is likewise affected by concerns regarding people’s handsets. Nearly a third (30%) of American consumers said they worried about their phone being stolen, while a quarter did not even want to take their cell phone out to pay. This is despite nearly three fourths (72%) saying they are increasingly confident about using their phone for shopping, according to the study.
“Today, the American consumer experience is defined by a huge diversification of choice – in retail options, services delivery and payment methods,” said Joseph Daly, COO, Paysafe payments processing, North America.
“As consumer acceptance of a cash-free society grows, businesses are challenged to reimagine the shopping experience to allow for behaviors and payment models unthinkable a decade ago,” he added. “In a rapidly transforming landscape, the merchants who survive will have invested early in emerging technologies that enable them to meet a range of customer payments preferences and quell security concerns – from cash and debit cards to mobile payments and eventually biometrics and cryptocurrencies.”
Target in new exclusive partnership—with TV duo
Target Corp. is launching a new brand with HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, and it's doing it just in time for the holidays.
The retailer announced an exclusive multi-year partnership with Magnolia, the home and lifestyle brand founded by the Gaines, to launch a home and lifestyle goods line. The new brand, called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, is Magnolia’s first collaboration with a retailer.
The new line, available at Target stores and on Target.com beginning Nov. 5, 2017, will encompass more than 300 pieces spanning tabletop, home décor and holiday gifts. Designed by the Gaines exclusively for Target, the collection will feature a modern take on Magnolia’s signature look of neutral colors, rich textures and clean lines, with modern, classic, industrial and vintage touches.
Prices range from $.99 to $129.99, with most items under $30.
“In a retail environment where differentiation has never been more important, we’re doubling down and introducing more than a dozen new brands to provide guests with even more reasons to choose Target,” said Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Partnering with Chip and Joanna to create a modern farmhouse collection available only at Target allows us to offer an aesthetic we know our guests will love, and the quality and affordable prices can’t be beat.”
The new brand is one of a dozen exclusive brands that Target will roll out during the next 18 months as part of its strategy to stand out in the marketplace. It already has unveiled two new apparel lines — A New Day and men’s clothing line Goodfellow & Co.
To kick off the partnership, Magnolia will work with Target House at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to redesign their dining room just in time for holiday gatherings. Target House is a free home away from home, providing long-term housing for St. Jude patients and their families.
"At the core of the Magnolia brand is the desire to make homes beautiful, but with a focus on family and practicality. We want to create spaces that families want to gather in,” said Joanna Gaines. “We’ve always dreamed of working with a retailer to create a collection that could reach more people at a more affordable price point. Coming together with Target not only allows us to design beautiful pieces for people all over the country, it also allows us to help communities in a bigger way than we could have ever imagined.”