Skechers rolled out the welcoming mats for their South African retail customers in Cape Town and Johannesburg last week. Apart from better insight into the brand, founded by chairman Robert Greenberg and his son Michael in 1992, the local retailers got a hands-on introduction to the new Spring-Summer styles featured in a 206p catalogue for the local market, were entertained by a mentalist, drummers, fashion models and bountiful good food and drinks.

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The retail audience enthusiastically joined in the drumming session by The Drum Café as a wake-up after lunch.
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The Cape Town day ended with a rooftop dinner and party at the Zeitz Mocca Museum of Modern Art. Marvin Bernstein is fourth from the left.

Managing partner Marvin Bernstein and Vice-President of International Sales Dan Levy were the star attractions. Bernstein, in charge of all international business outside the US, helped the Greenberg’s build Skechers into a global brand with annual sales exceeding $5-bn (read more in our forthcoming article). Bernstein, for example, emphasises the company’s belief in advertising and how pleased they are with the strategies of some brands that limit their supply to retailers … which leaves more shelf space for Skechers, which will happily supply all retailers.

The international business, available in 170 countries, now represents more than half of total Skechers sales. The international sales grew 22% last year and in many countries – including India with its vast population – Skechers is #1. Their 52% growth in India to become the biggest brand was, for example, made possible by the withdrawal of Nike and adidas from 200 retailers.

The local Skechers distributor, Brand-folio LLC, is also responsible for the distribution of Skechers in the Middle East, CIS (former USSR countries) and Africa, where they achieved 35% growth. In South Africa they achieved 40% growth (more details in our next newsletter).

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Brand-Folio LLC general manager Archana Das (right) and marketing manager Rinki Chellani socialising during the party to end the meeting in Cape Town.

They sent a strong contingent from the Dubai head-office: general manager Archana Das, supported by Aarathi Mohandas  (kids shoes) and Aparna Chesakat (active and sport active), also gave presentations in Cape Town, with Brand-Folio Director and founder Roy Gomez joining them in Johannesburg.

Local product information was provided by Waseem Mayet. Skechers is now also introducing a clothing range and accessories like sunglasses and during the presentation and at the evening party, models showed off the new ranges to best advantage.

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Refiloe Musandiwa, Waseem Mayet and Rinki Chellani enjoying the fashion show.

Local marketing insights were provided by Refiloe Musandiwa, who gave examples of how they lived up to the Skechers motto Unseen. Untold. Unsold. by creating visibility through sponsorship of the Melrose Walk and the Little Charmers Kids Event,  window collaborations with retailers like Sportscene and promotions on social media. They also collaborate with various local influencers who promote the brand to their thousands of social media followers.

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Keith Lungani Mbokoma (left) and Siyanda Thembele from Sportscene enjoying the company of Miss Teenage South Africa finalist Siut Mahlati.

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In 2019 they entered into a partnership with influencer Kim Jayde (above), the MTV Africa Producer who was featured by Forbes as one of their 30 Under 30 influencers, to become a Skechers ambassador.

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Refiloe Musandiwa of Brandfolio SA emphasised the brand’s marketing philosophy of  Unseen. Untold. Unsold.
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A model shows Skechers new clothing and accessory range against the backdrop of a setting sun from the Zeitz Mocca Museum rooftop.