P448, an Italian luxury brand of sneakers for men and women, has ambitious expansion goals.
Born in 2014, the brand has immediately achieved significant results including a successful acceptance in Italy, alongside with Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. In 2017, it opened its e-commerce, expanded in the US and the UK and reached further into China, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE, Turkey, Mexico and Canada.
In July 2018, US-based footwear holding company Streettrend LLC and Italian investment firm Panda acquired a majority interest in the brand. Now it is owned by the company Nothanks SpA, held by the Milan holding Panda (whose CEO is Paolo Griffo) for 35%, by Streettrend LLC (whose chairman and founder is Wayne Kulkin) for 30%, and by P448 co-creative directors and founders Marco Samorè and Andrea Curti for 35%.
The P448 headquarters are located in Forlì and include the design studio, logistics and administration offices, while a direct showroom–also hosting its e-commerce team and operations–opened in Milan in January 2019.
The brand has recorded 50% growth rates year over year since its foundation. In 2017, P448 had €5.7 million total sales (growing compared to 2016), while in 2018 it closed the year with €8.2 million (36% more compared to the previous fiscal year). The company’s goal is to reach €50 million total sales by 2022, thanks to significant investments including, for instance, the opening of a pop-up store at Selfridges in March 2019 and a second pop-up store at La Rinascente in April, plus three stores in the US and one in Canada.
Wayne Kulkin, non-executive chairman of P448, explained how the brand aims to reach its goals.
P448 has ambitious growth targets. How will it reach them?
We have laser focus on global digital. This brand, with its unique combination of textures, materials, design and comfort stands out in the online world but looks amazing in stores as well. We’re constantly looking for the right way to communicate our brand and satisfy our growing following. Our focus is to be scrappy and innovative. In 2019 we’re looking for several pop-up stores as well as two to three stores for instance in SoHo, Brooklyn, Miami and Venice Beach and Canada, in locations that represent us the best and where we want to open experiential stores.
Can you explain what experiential stores are?
Today consumers have the possibility to buy through different channels, though not always highly involving. P448 wants to offer its clients the possibility to dive into highly involving experiences tied to the brand in to get to know it deeply and be entirely connected to it.
These experiential stores will be physical monobrand stores whose offer aims at being more experiential rather than commercial. Therefore, they won’t be designed as simple spaces for displaying products but as containers of elements and installations–digital but not only that–that will help getting in touch with the brand’s DNA.
P448 wants to tell about its identity as it does through social media.
What are the countries where the brand is most successful?
We’re just beginning our brand journey. The brand was born in Italy, which is our largest country of distribution, and through organic growth and through strategic planning have now reached 35 countries of distribution.
You have also recently opened a monobrand showroom in Milan. Why?
We want now to grow in Europe developing Northern Europe and EMEA markets. Our newly opened monobrand showroom based at Palazzo Serbelloni in Milan will be the key venue for the European distribution. It will help us growing in markets where we don’t have agents and work directly with some key accounts through which we can better help grow our brand awareness and get direct feedback from clients. Why did we choose Milan? Our brand is Italian for taste and manufacturing. We sell all over the world but our heart and mind are here.
What are the markets where you expect to grow further?
We just scratched the surface and opened the Middle East and Russia for the first time for spring 2019. The beauty of our product is its ability to connect with all cultures, regions and climates.
What is e-commerce counting for now? Which countries are buying via e-commerce mostly?
Currently we are offering our shoes to the EU as well as the US and many of our department store partners have the ability to ship across the world.
How do you want to increase your online sales further?
We feel we are a brand that’s built for social commerce. We want to be innovative and find ways to surprise and delight our customers in different forms of communication and retail channels. We constantly push ourselves so our selling and communication strategies can be as unique as our product.
How will the brand evolve? Will it also include apparel, accessories or other product categories?
Our current focus is to make the best possible product in the sneaker and streetwear market. Once we will have expanded our digital footprint as well as opened some freestanding stores, accessories, expanding in streetwear and ready-to-wear could always be a possibility.
The collection is characterized by a visually strong identity. How will P448 evolve in the future?
The brand’s DNA is all about mixing colors, textures and materials. That’s what makes Marco and Andrea such a strong design duo. They are always pushing themselves on design and creative boundaries.