Silicon Valley’s shoe darling launches a line for kids

Silicon Valley’s shoe darling launches a line for kids

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A shoe company that has already won over Silicon Valley’s adults is launching a line for kids.

Online start-up Allbirds, which opened its first New York store last month, has designed a pint-size version of its shoes for children, called Smallbirds. Smallbirds is available starting Tuesday, selling in Allbirds’ two physical stores and on its website.

“We thought this was a natural use of our soft, comfortable materials, to create kids’ shoes that were just as good, if not better,” co-founder Tim Brown told CNBC. “There was a really strong sense from customers that they wanted this.”

The merino wool-built shoes are fit for kids’ constant movement, the company said, and are made with a machine-washable, stretchable fabric. The pairs will come in blue, red and gray, and retail for $55.

Allbirds expects that existing customers who are parents will want a pair of shoes for their kids. “Hopefully it brings new folks into the business, too,” Brown added.

The direct-to-consumer shoe company, which debuted last year, opened its first brick-and-mortar location in San Francisco in April.

Allbirds has raised $27.5 million in equity since its inception, from partners including Tiger Global, Elephant, Maveron and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

“It’s not enough to sell a product,” Brown said about his company’s mission. “[Retailers] need to be trying to do something more.”

In addition to sneakers, Smallbirds will offer children a lesson on sustainability, giving every customer a free copy of a book by co-founder Joey Zwillinger, called “Sadie Shaves the Day.” The book expands on Allbirds’ sustainable goals.

Brown said the New York store opening was an “overwhelming success,” and he sees brick-and-mortar retail as a big part of the company’s plans.

The Silicon Valley-based brand follows in the footsteps eyeglass retailer Warby Parker and mattress start-up Casper, which have seen sales skyrocket online and in stores.

[“Source-cnbc”]