How Wish ATL is a game-changer for women in sneakers – footwear news
Brands have focused more on female sneaker consumers in recent years, entering the market with female-focused silhouettes and needle-shifting collaborations. And yet representation within the industry – particularly among the ranks of owners – is scarce.
Though rare, Wish ATL owner and founder Lauren Amos believes her store’s story might offer hope to others.
âIt’s a man’s world, and it’s frustrating and sad that there aren’t more women involved,â Amos said. âBut I hope that because of us and others, and as more and more women get involved, there will be women who step up and want to run their own sneaker store. One of these days, I hope it’s going to be an old story and no one talks about women running sneaker stores. It will just be a store.
Julie Hogg, Partner and CEO of Wish ATL, says the store’s success in today’s male-dominated retail climate is already encouraging to some.
âWe take the time to develop our people and show them paths they may not have been exposed to before,â Hogg said. âWhen people find out we’re female and run them, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow’. And you can tell a young woman’s wheels are starting to spin and she sees that this is something that she could get involved in as well, because look at the success.
Some of Wish ATL’s most prominent brand partners recently teamed up with the retailer on eye-catching initiatives that spotlight creative women. For example, the retailer teamed up with Jordan Brand in April for a women-focused event for the latest collaboration with Aleali May, which was highlighted by the popular Air Jordan 1 Zoom Comfort shoe.
âBeing owned by women, Jordan was looking for us to take the lead, they approached us with the opportunity to do an early release specifically aimed at women,â Hogg said. âThe collection shows how streetwear is evolving to include women more significantly, much more than in the past. And what Aleali has done for the company has been phenomenal for the industry as a whole.
For Jordan Brand’s May collaborative effort, Wish ATL invited members of Mahogany-N-Motion – the dance team from nearby Spelman College – to the store for early access to purchase the collection, get nail art. custom inspired line and more.
âWe are ready to hear our own gender. For years we’ve heard stories from men, but now it’s time to hear from ourselves, to share stories that are relevant to other women, âsaid Amos. “It is important [to shine the light on] run by women, owned by women to give hope and encouragement.
However, even with the introduction of storytelling and female-led activations, you won’t find a separation between male and female-focused products in store.
âIt’s all there because we don’t think there should be women and men,â Hogg explained. âWe mix the shoes, even women’s sizes, and sometimes they come in extended women’s sizes, so a man can get them too. We’ve had women’s sections in the past, but the way we buy brands that we bring in, women love them as much as men do, so it doesn’t make sense to segment women aside because they buy. all the space.
Amos added: âWomen don’t want to have a section just for women. They want to be one among many. Having everything together gives them the ability to shop across the store rather than a small, organized section.
Hogg believes that extended sizes are a great way for brands in the industry to communicate better with women.
âIt starts with extended sizes – or sizes for the whole family, as some brands call it – it’s a good start because it gives women a level playing field, it gives everyone the opportunity to play. ‘get a shoe,’ Hogg said. “Feminine exclusives, I think it’s more of a [major] release the catch where it can make it look like it’s just wrapped up for the girl and then the guy wants it.
She said Nike and Adidas have led the charge by offering expanded sizes and that other brands are making them available to Wish. And having extended in-store sizing has proven to be a success.
âWe see 4-14 come in our doors, and it’s right on the floor so anyone who wants it has access,â Hogg said. “And when we see that the 5, 6 and 7 are selling harder, we’ll react to that because we know the shoe is geared towards a female customer rather than the male customer.”
She continued, âI’ve seen a lot of improvements over the past two strong seasons offering almost every product line 4-14 and then [major] the outings are aimed more at women than in the past, or they allow us to get smaller sizes.
Looking ahead, Wish ATL has planned several efforts for this year and early 2022 that should further elevate its stature.
For starters, the retailer will offer a new clothing collection in-house in the fourth quarter, with a target date in September. The new line will be launched through the Wish ATL website. âWe want the brand to grow into our main clothing offering. The Wish brand is a very important growth opportunity for us, so you will focus more on clothing collaborations, as well as our clothing brand, âHogg said.
In addition, Wish will launch a loyalty program at the start of the fourth quarter that will offer benefits and rewards to loyal customers. Finally, it will redesign its website in Q4 and launch an app shortly thereafter in 2022.