Shiekh Shoes

shiekhshoes

Shiekh Shoes is focused on knowing the minds of its target customers and putting the physical and virtual assets in place to reach them.

By Eric Slack

Based in Ontario, Calif., Shiekh Shoes has carved out a strong niche for itself as a footwear and apparel retailer. Founded by Shiekh Ellahi in 1991, the company now operates more than 130 stores throughout the West Coast and Southwest. Currently, Shiekh Shoes is working on ways to make the most of its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce footprint.

“The company has created a strong business by building ties to loyal consumers,” President Matt Fine says. “Now we are working on redefining the business and building the infrastructure to support future growth.”

Target Acquired

Shiekh Shows features a product selection that is aimed at young adults. It carries athletic footwear and apparel from brands such as Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Timberland and Puma. Its product selection includes offerings for men, women and children. The company offers a number of exclusive products that cannot be found at other retailers, and it also manufactures and sells its own footwear brand through its stores and website.

As the company has grown, it has not lost focus on its efforts to create a shopping environment that would appeal to its targeted 17- to 22-year-old consumer base. Its stores are located mainly in shopping malls, modernly designed with wood, brick, concrete and metal with a top-shelf sound system. Additionally, Shiekh Shoes has put as much effort into building an attractive e-commerce portfolio to serve its customers.

“We focus on learning about what inspires our consumer, like music, sport, street culture and fashion,” Fine says. “That is where our consumer exists and we look to reflect the style values of those consumers. Digging down, the 17- to 22-year-old is the target demographic, but we serve younger and older and have a fairly even male and female split. From there, it is about meeting their expectations from a product standpoint and providing them with engagement and service. Today’s consumers are so much smarter and have higher expectations, so you have to deliver.”

Through the efforts of the company’s leaders, product buyers, marketing department and individual stores, Shiekh Shoes has been able to create an enhanced buying experience for consumers. The company has established the right product mix in all of its locations, and it has built an efficient product distribution operation to support its retail locations and e-commerce business.

All of this has helped Shiekh Shoes build equally strong ties with brands. Fine says Nike and Jordan have long led this space in the athletic footwear and apparel industry, and Shiekh Shoes has a strong product mix there as a result. At the same time, other brands such as Adidas and Puma have been able to grow their presence as consumers have opened themselves up to a wider array of choices.

“We want to evolve in ways that allow us to introduce consumers to new things because they trust our selections,” Fine says. “It is important to know the relevant brands, why they are relevant, and what brands want from a retailer. We understand what our partners want and are looking for from distribution points, and we continue to look for ways we can expand what we offer to our current brands while looking for opportunities to bring in new brands.”

Balancing Act

As the company looks to the future, it is focused on finding the right mix between traditional brick-and-mortar stores and the modern online environment. Shiekh Shoes has worked to understand how consumers approach both environments.

“The purpose of retail stores is changing, but the stores are not going away,” Fine says. “People still want to touch and feel products, so you need to know what you stand for in both spaces. In either space, you must remove barriers between consumers and the products they want.”

In its stores, Shiekh Shoes has been redefining its environments to be sure it is giving consumers access to the cool spaces they are looking for. It has also invested in messaging and how it speaks to consumers. This is all because Shiekh Shoes knows it has to maintain relevance with consumers at all times while making sure it is giving them the experience they want everywhere. And while the company has been investing in improving is physical locations, many of its other investments have focused on e-commerce and logistics. “The stores help to expand your reach and presence as a brand, but we see e-commerce as a place where we can impact growth,” Fine says.

One big move for Shiekh Shoes came earlier this year when it announced the acquisition of the well-known e-commerce retailer Karmaloop. Over the past 15 years, Karmaloop had built a reputation online for its focus on urban style and streetwear products. Karmaloop’s rich history and strong brand was attractive to Shiekh Shoes, as the company felt it could leverage Karmaloop’s assets to grow its existing businesses in both the brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels.

“When I look out at the Karmaloop acquisition and the reaction its generated, it shows us that biggest growth opportunity is in the e-commerce space,” Fine says. “That is a big piece of the puzzle for us, and we are eager to show the kind of impact we can have with that brand.”

Corporate Head Office

Retail Merchandiser Magazine

Cringleford Business Centre,
Intwood Road Cringleford,
Norwich, UK, NR6 4AU

 +44 (0) 1603 274 130

Click here for a full list of contacts.

North American office

Retail Merchandiser Magazine

Finelight Media,
207 E. Ohio Street Suite 351
Chicago, IL 60611

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