Laurence Slotsky is confident that the numbers 17 and 21 that so often popped up at random and strategic times in his life as lucky numbers, will bring the same luck, success and advantages to his new company namely 1721 Distributors. Besides, it is easy to remember, he adds.
This new company became the sub Saharan exclusive distributor for the Fila brand, including clothing, footwear and accessories, as well as Levi’s footwear sales at the beginning of July, after Slotsky negotiated to take back these two established aspirational brands from Bounty Brands.
Footwear Trading and all its brands – Fila, Levi’s, Diesel and Jeep footwear – was sold to Bounty Brands in 2016.The existing Footwear Trading has been integrated into Bounty and has moved to Cape Town.
Slotsky is currently the sole shareholder of the newly-formed 1721 Distributorship, but “within time, once things have settled down, I will be looking at certain options for key staff members,” he says. His former Footwear Trading partner, Stanley Kotkin, retired from Footwear Trading last year after mutual agreement and continues to keep an interest in the industry with a non-apparel and footwear brand.
“I am an entrepreneur and hands on trader,” Slotsky says of his decision to form a new company and move away with his team from the more rigid corporate structure and ethos at Bounty Brands.
His decision was also partly driven by the fact that “my team is extremely passionate and excited about Fila Est 1911, one of the hottest global brands internationally. I have had an excellent relationship with the owner and key management of Fila for many years and understand the potential and opportunity and power of Fila going forward. Our distribution for Fila is tight and in line with the global policy at Fila. We will ensure that retailers maintain the right image and look and feel in order to deliver the Fila brand and aspiration to their target market and consumers.”
Levi’s footwear will be sold to all their existing retailers, just as before, for the remaining duration of the contract.
“The exciting part of the start-up is that we have already been approached by some well-known and respected international brands to consider absorbing them into 1721 Distributors,” he adds. “I am not rushing into anything at this stage, as we are busy implementing new IT structures and logistics and investing for the future. Once the dust has settled down we are open for additional opportunities that are relevant for the future. “
Slotsky has kept a dynamic core of key ex-Footwear Trading staff, complimented by some new people – among them are Lynton Picker, Jonathan Chaimowitz, Lara Slotsky, Dale Strime, Tracey Abrahams and others. They are all operating from the old Footwear Trading premises in Selby Johannesburg and with the same telephone number. Emails have been changed to…….. @1721.co.za.