Ancient Greek Sandals was founded a few years ago and has since seen major success worldwide. In Greece during the summer, the most worn shoe is the classic Greek sandal. It comes in many designs, flats or heels, and in different leather types and colours. Christina and Nicolas decided to spread the word by creating their own designs and selling these abroad – an idea that has brought them great success.
Christina Martini was born and raised in Greece, and her two most important career roles have been as a fashion designer in Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. After about 10 years in the industry, Christina decided to return to Greece to have a family and live in Corfu.
Nicolas Minoglou was born in London, grew up in Greece and continued with his studies abroad. In 2006 he returned to Greece to take responsibility of his family’s shoe business. Four years later, he founded the online shop www.myshoe.gr.
When Nicolas and Christina met, after talking about their individual ideas, they realised they had thought of a very similar business plan – the one that resulted in Ancient Greek Sandals. Christina was responsible for the designs, and Nicolas was responsible for the business model, starting in London in 2012. The success was imminent and now these sandals, which are made in Greece, are sold in about 300 sales points across 50 countries. The sandals have also already been in the spotlight, with celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Emma Watson, Diane Kruger, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing them.
The success is also noticeable in Greece – the brand now has two shops and many more sales points. However, the success in Greece came after unlocking the markets abroad. The duo stresses that what is important to them is that they live in Greece, have their company based there, and collaborate with local artisans. They knew it would have been easier and more economical for them to push most of their production abroad, but were not interested in that proposal. It is part of their philosophy to keep the sandals linked to Greece, from conception to production.
Despite starting up in the middle of Greece’s economic crisis, the brand achieved an average growth rate of 52% since its launch in 2012. In 2013, they grew by 73% and leapt in production from 26 to 45 thousands pairs of shoes. “Our main factory was able to handle our growth – the Greek crisis was an ally in that. If it were not for the Greek crisis the factory would have been busy with other projects”, Minoglou says.
Four of the brand’s most classic styles account for 20% of total sales and 50% of the collection is repeated each season. “Our customers are happiest with our entry-priced sandals at $195-240. We introduce new materials, new colours, and of course I make some new designs”, says Martini. In terms of wholesale, the brand has identified Japan as a key target market for 2016/17. The brand is also expanding its product offering to men’s and leather accessories. However, Minoglou and Martini do not want to diversify too far beyond their core product.
Source: Business of Fashion