Home Business Magazine:
"Brothers Matt and James McManus Are Making Tracks in the Footwear Industry with Bokos"
When Matt and James McManus created Bokos in 2013, they didn't have any retail experience. How could they? They were both still students attending the University of Wisconsin. Matt, majoring in Entrepreneurship, and James, majoring in Chinese, were both eager to put what they had been learning in school to the test.
The idea was simple: Create a pair of sandals that was comfortable, easy-to-clean, anti-slip, and anti-odor; and offer it to consumers at an affordable price-point and in a variety of fun, unique color options.
The brothers matched talents, Matt handling the business and brand development side of things, and James handling production and international logistics, and soon...Bokos was born.
The product, and the appeal that the brothers were hoping for, caught on quickly. Soon after launching, Bokos was being picked up by retailers across the country. By the end of their first year, Bokos was stocked by health clubs, gardening centers, campsite gift shops, campus bookstores, waterparks, and resorts.
The Bokos story wasn't going unnoticed either. After year two, the company had racked up mentions by all of the major newspapers and television stations in the upper Midwest, along with features in Yahoo! Travel, The Huffington Post, Women's Running, Bicycling Magazine, and Inc. Magazine.
But it hasn't been easy. Retail is going through a very tough time, particularly with consumers shifting the way they shop to online, on-demand buying experiences. This shift has been crippling for brick and mortar retailers, and has directly affected Bokos in the last year.
Matt, the company founder, says "Every few months, we follow-up with our current retailers to see if they are ready for their re-order. It's quite astounding to see that every time we do, a surprising portion of our retailers regrettably announce to us that they are closing their doors. And those that aren't closing their doors seem to be reporting that things aren't going particularly well. It's a hard time for retailers right now, and those that are surviving are having to be very careful with how they manage expenses."
When we asked Matt how Bokos has handled this shift, he had this to say: "We are fortunate because, as a brand, we have an opportunity to present our product to consumers in a wide variety of channels. We are on retail shelves, we sell through our website, online, drop-ship, and just about everything in between."
Looking ahead, the brand plans on continuing to expand their current list of retail partners. They are also planning to invest in more aggressive online advertising to keep up with the growing trend of consumers shifting to online spending.
To read the story online: Bokos Sandals in Home Business Magazine