30 Nov Footwear Executive Launches New Sneaker Company
Wayne Kulkin, former CEO of Stuart Weitzman, has launched a new business venture with investment partner Hilco Global, called StreetTrend LLC.
The company began operating in the first quarter of 2017 with a mission to launch a new luxury sneaker company built to deliver beautifully constructed shoes using the highest quality materials.
“I’ve been a sneakerhead since I was a teenager,” said Kulkin. “Anyone who’s ever met me will tell you that I am always in sneakers, whether it’s with a suit, jeans, or sweatpants.”
Kulkin will serve as the CEO of StreetTrend LLC, which will have product available at luxury retailers across North America and in Europe by Spring/Summer 2018.
StreetTrend LLC will deliver the 2018 collection under three brand labels, all produced in Italy: p448 (www.p448shoes.com), Meline, and P.S.821. Kulkin indicated that shipments for p448 and p448 Kids are well underway and will soon be arriving at stores throughout the US. Retailers carrying the brand for spring include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Shopbop, and The Shoebox NYC.
Kulkin said, “StreetTrend LLC will design and market Italian-made luxury sneakers that are fresh and innovative. The entire collection is made with the finest materials and handcrafted in Italy. Our goal is to completely exceed consumer expectations on style, comfort, and fit, all at a democratic price point.”
As the CEO, founder, and visionary behind StreetTrend LLC, Kulkin will leverage his deep industry experience in marketing, supply chain and global consumer trends.
“I’m excited to build something from the ground up. I love the power of ideas and the creative process, and I’m certain we’re tapping into a very exciting consumer need for sneakers that look and feel fantastic,” he said.
Kulkin spent over two decades at Stuart Weitzman and served as its CEO both before and after the company’s acquisition by Coach, Inc. (now Tapestry, Inc). He is largely credited with transforming the company from a shoe manufacturer into an iconic American fashion brand with worldwide operations. Kulkin started his shoe career as a buyer at Nordstrom, and has been involved with every aspect of the footwear industry over his career. As an executive, he is well known for both his retail management skills and his insight into the consumer mindset, pushing for innovative designs and great fit.
Kulkin is confident that luxury sneakers, a fast-growing segment of the footwear market, are a trend with staying power.
“Consumers are passionate about the growing trend of wearing sneakers in all settings — from the gym to the office, from the park to the bar,” he said. “The demand for multiple pairs of shoes is a natural extension of the shift to casual dress at the workplace. People want to make a statement about their personal style from head to toe.”
Kulkin indicated that he has already begun to build out a full executive team that will support the brand’s growth initiatives and develop an exciting strategic roadmap for the expansion of several brand labels within the StreetTrend LLC portfolio.
StreetTrend LLC is a joint venture investment deal between Kulkin and Jeffrey B. Hecktman, chairman and CEO of Hilco Global. For years, Hilco Global has made investments in and helped to build brands including several in the fashion and consumer space such as Halston, Haute Hippie, Madaluxe Eyewear, Le Tigre, Caribbean Joe, Ellen Tracy, Polaroid and Altec Lansing, etc.