Bringing High-Quality Shoes Directly to Customers
Jim Ferguson has spent his career in the shoe manufacturing business. Relying on years of experience, he knows what it takes to create high-quality handmade leather shoes.
He also knows what goes into the price of those shoes: wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. He and his partner, Bob Weber, had an idea to cut out the middlemen to bring high-quality leather shoes directly to the St. Louis area.
Together, they established Naked Boot and Shoe, a St. Louis-based handmade shoe line and retail store.
They did so by first establishing a relationship with Pakistan-based Tannery KTM Leather, a company that could use the all-natural process Ferguson believes would create the highest quality leather in an environmentally friendly manner.
Weber told the Webster-Kirkwood Times, “Because of our partnership with KTM Leather, we own and control our entire supply chain. Without the middle-man, we are able to pass our cost savings directly back to the customer.”
Additionally, they brought in senior merchandiser and fashion designer Kelly Weber (also Bob Weber’s niece) to help create custom designs for Naked Boot and Shoe. Only twenty-two, her work is already garnering attention from renowned designer Nicole Miller.
The partners opened their first location in Webster Groves at 8157 Big Bend and found it resonated with customers immediately.
Building on that momentum, they decided it was time to open a second location, this time in Chesterfield, MO. To find the right retail space for rental, Mr. Ferguson called on commercial real estate brokers Rebecca Thessen and Jeff Altvater at Hilliker Corporation.
Looking for the Perfect Fit in Chesterfield
The opportunity in Chesterfield was clear. With lots of shopping in the area and a clientele used to a high-end experience, there were no handmade shoe boutiques in the area. Naked Boot and Shoe could fill that need but first had to find a small retail space for rental in Chesterfield, MO with complimentary businesses nearby.
At the same time, Thessen and Altvater’s clients at 1590 Clarkson Road had an opening. Owned by Southern Real Estate and Financial Co., the building’s anchor tenants are Talbot’s and Chico’s, with a nearby nail salon and yoga studio. The open space, once occupied by a gourmet cupcake shop, had been vacant over a year.
Ferguson loved the space and decided to pursue it.
Cutting Out the Middleman
Thessen commented that representing both the tenant and the landlord made for a smoother negotiation process.
In such circumstances, she says, “I know the expectations of both the tenant and the landlord,” and that not going through a third party made the process “more time-efficient. I know them. I know what they like, and I know what they don’t like.”
Thessen said of Ferguson, “Jim is a great guy to work with, very efficient, very on top of things. He’s familiar with the business.”
Additionally, Thessen and Alvater were excited to have a retail solution already lined up for their client, an opportunity afforded them by being part of the Hilliker team.
The Right “Next Step”
Southern Real Estate’s John Roberts says, “It’s exciting to have [Naked Boot and Shoe] in the Chesterfield area,” believing placing them near Chico’s and Talbot’s will benefit all three stores, adding to the success of the retail center.
Positioned for expansion, Ferguson and Weber are bringing their vision for high-quality handmade shoes to West County. Naked Boot and Shoe’s second location at 1590 Clarkson Road is set to open March 15, 2019.
Looking for Retail Space for Rent?
Hilliker has solutions for you. Whether it’s in their database or listed with another company, we work tirelessly to find something that meets your needs. Get in touch with Hilliker today!