Caleres to relaunch Allen Edmonds brand, including Baker Mayfield in TV ad

Effort aimed at broadening appeal to more consumers

Allen Edmonds McAllister

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 05:57 am

The parent company of Allen Edmonds plans to relaunch the men’s shoe brand this fall, adding new products through collaborations with other American-made brands and a television advertising campaign aimed at bringing in new customers.

The Allen Edmonds store at The Pfister in Milwaukee.

Diane Sullivan, Caleres chief executive officer, president and chairman, said Tuesday that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the number one pick in this year’s NFL draft, would be making an appearance in one of the television spots. Those commercials will launch in the last week of September.

The company has also brought together a number of other companies making men’s accessories and other products in the U.S. under the label “artisans of freedom.” Sullivan said there will be six to 10 collaborations with those company launching over the next six to 12 months.

“We think that’s going to be a really nice way to begin to tell a really fresh story to the consumer,” she said. “And then, as I mentioned, driving some new TV directly to the consumer so we can keep bringing in new consumers into the franchise, which will allow us to not be relying on the same customers that we have, but actually broaden the customer base.”

Over the last year, Caleres has sought trademarks on “#realshoes” and “Artisans of Freedom,” according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records.

Missouri-based Caleres, the parent company of Famous Footware and a number of other shoe brands, acquired Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds in late 2016 for $255 million.

Allen Edmonds McAllister
Credit: Maredithe Meyer

Since then, the company has relocated consumer-facing activities for Allen Edmonds from Minnesota to St. Louis. Caleres is also investing to bring distribution for its brands in-house.

The relaunch of the Allen Edmonds brand comes with a roughly $3 million investment.

Sullivan acknowledged the company has been heavily promoting the Allen Edmonds brand, particularly online to move older products out of stores in advance of the relaunch. She said it presented a challenge to drive sales growth and clear out inventory while also doing so profitably.

“It’s a work in progress and I think this fall will be the start of our ability to really begin to reduce those promotions,” she said, adding Allen Edmonds would seek to become a “better American luxury brand.”

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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