When it comes to shoes, there are a plethora of options for millennial office workers. However, there isn’t one that works to get through tough weather conditions while still being appropriate for a working environment. professional office. Adam Klein and Jared Johnson, two MBAs from MIT Sloan, are hard at work creating the fashionable yet durable boot called “The Ansel” to wear both in the office and outside in season three. Season Three is a contemporary clothing brand influenced by artistic culture and an outdoor ethic, serving as a fundamental platform for one to explore their surroundings. The two founders of the direct-to-consumer shoe company have a lot to discuss about building a brand that centers on physical and personal exploration.
Frederick Daso: Could you describe the psychology behind your brand? What makes people emotionally connect with your footwear offering?
Jared Johnson: We had an extensive discovery process and interviewed over 350 people. We tried to determine our ideal client based on their lifestyle and arrived at the personality of a freelance designer. He is someone who is always on the move and whose personal brand is partly defined by the way he dresses.
Adam Klein: We also tried to understand the problem we wanted to solve as a more generalizable problem. We knew that our ideal client worked in a creative field located in an urban area. They are probably used to high quality design in the clothes they wear.
Daso: Would you mind going a little deeper into your ideal client archetype?
Johnson: The modern archetype of the independent designer is Virgil Abloh of Off-White and Louis Vuitton. Virgil is someone who has many creative outlets, with fashion but also as an artist and DJ. Freelancers, by nature, relentlessly pursue side businesses and reject full-time jobs that would limit their creative outlets.
Daso: Freelancers, also by nature, must be versatile in the secondary activities they pursue if they go anywhere. Based on your selection of them as your ideal customer, how does your shoe reflect the versatility they need to thrive in their unique career?
Klein: We built our boot around three aspects: style, comfort and durability. We want our product to be a premium product, so we use the same high quality leather as other luxury brands like Prada. We also want people to wear them everywhere, so we used materials that could make them as comfortable as a pair of trainers.
Daso: I understood. Let’s say you execute your vision well and succeed in building your ideal boots. What is the strategy behind your distribution to get it to your customers? How is this strategy linked to the brand?
Klein: We have no illusions about the challenges of operating in this space. We can no longer launch a brand exclusively on digital, because advertising on Facebook and Google is very expensive. We are not the only ones to notice this. We want to be a different lifestyle brand, one that engages customers in unconventional ways, through meaningful content and community building. That’s not to say we won’t have a digital presence, but our primary focus will be to connect authentically. We will use our marketing budget to bring people into the conversation we are having now. This discussion is about what we stand for as a brand: gender neutrality, environmental responsibility, freedom of expression and practicing compassionate capitalism. This will take the form of community events, involving outings, town hall meetings, panel discussions or even something as small as movie nights.
Johnson: We now have a small, pre-launch community of about 150 people. Once we grow our community to 1,000, then we can start thinking about the next phase of attracting customers, in the same way, but on a bigger scale.
Daso: What is the overall vision for season three, given the distribution strategy, concept and underlying psychology that make up your product brand?
Johnson: The big vision for Season 3 is to inspire exploration. Much of how we talk about it happens outdoors, because being outdoors is now an aspirational way of life. Nevertheless, we believe that research can also take place in your office or in yourself.
Klein: We want you to associate our boots with understanding what is possible, both in individual and societal pursuits.
Disclosure: I was previously an investor at Rough Draft Ventures, which invested in season three.
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