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In October, Kulkin took on full ownership of P448 through his StreetTrend LLC firm in a joint venture partnership with the financial services and brand investment firm Hilco Global, after acquiring a 30% stake in the brand from NoThanks SpA in 2018. Prior to that, Kulkin served as P448s exclusive distributor and marketing partner for the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
With the business now under his control, Kulkin is looking to pursue a more-streamlined approach.
We want to attack each market with the same disciplines, the same kind of digital acumen, he said. By controlling all of the shares, it afforded us that ability to invest in that and not take a European approach, an American approach or an Asian approach. Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, we can create key items that could be similar in all markets.
P448 specializes in luxury sneakers for men and women, with a $275-to-$325 price point. In Europe, the labels business leans toward the mens category, with a 60-40 ratio. In the U.S., meanwhile, P448 is 70% womens and 30% mens.
Kulkin said he aims to keep sales on the uptick by controlling markdowns and focusing on full-price selling. To that end, product extension will be key: Childrens shoes, sweatpants and sweatshirts will launch next, to complement P448s collection of low-top, high-tops and pool slides.
Kulkin added that focusing on full-price selling allows brands to be more selective with retail partners.
How Luxury Sneaker Brand P448 Doubled Its Business During A Pandemic
In 2018, StreetTrend snapped up a 30% stake in P448 from NoThanks SpA. According to StreetTrend, P448 has achieved a compound annual growth rate of 40% each year and has dramatically expanded its distribution channels to retailers including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, ShopBop, Revolve, Printemps and Level Shoes. It is also said to have seen an increase of 800% on its digital channels in the first half of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In the midst of the worst health and economic crisis of modern history, we launched a new design and creative services group with a network of experts and facilities to leverage shared knowledge, industry experience and best-in-class resources, Kulkin explained, sharing that the entity was called TheProjectSociety LLC. To support the business, StreetTrend opened a 20,000-square-foot design studio in the Spanish city of Elda, where technicians and staff are led by creative director Daniele Michetti. The facility, said the company, will enable it to launch shoe collections for four lifestyle brands.
All production and sourcing were executed in Italy and Spain a critical factor in order to ensure premier design, quality and craftsmanship, Kulkin added.