Say ‘Nine West’ to a woman with even a passing sense of fashion, and her eyes shine a little brighter! So, what’s special about this global footwear-and-accessories fashion brand?
Nine West’s phenomenal success story goes back to the 1970s when Wharton Business School graduate Jerome Fisher and his business partner Vincent Camuto founded Fisher Camuto Corporation. The two already had experience sourcing footwear from low-cost Brazilian manufacturers.
By the 1980s, the company’s products, manufactured in Brazil and designed and marketed in the U.S.A, acquired a huge following, grossing 300 million dollars in sales.
The company merged with two sister concerns to become the Nine West Group in 1993, a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The name ‘Nine West’ came from its address, 9 West 58th St, New York City, where the company was first headquartered.
At its inception, Nine West had 236 stores and was also engaged in the design and marketing of private and branded shoes across department and independent stores as well as boutiques. Besides its most successful brand, Nine West, the company had four other brands. Calico brand sold classically styled footwear; Westies were sold only at standalone stores; Enzo Angiolini was a higher priced designer label; and 9 & Co., featuring footwear for children, was marketed as a youth brand.
In 1999, the company was bought by Jones Apparel Group.
Innovation and surprise are mantras that ensure Nine West’s continuing popularity. “Shoelaborations” was launched in 2011 as a platform to discover and nurture budding design talent. Nine West entered the fragrance market the same year with a perfume named “Love Fury”, aimed at “the woman who loves the privileges of being a woman, from wearing high heeled pumps to using the power of a fragrance to seduce.”
What set the company apart from the start was the entrepreneurs’ ability to adapt designs to rapidly changing style trend. Getting footwear manufactured in Brazil, with its abundant raw materials and inexpensive labour, was an inspired move that enabled the product to retain its unique selling proposition: upscale, yet affordable.
Today, Nine West is a name to reckon with. The brand graduated from a US-based footwear manufacturer to a global lifestyle brand in women’s handbags, shoes, apparel and accessories. The Nine West brand retails across 60 nations and has 2,300 distribution outlets.
Nine West delights customers with products that spell quality, high fashion, versatility, and value for money. What’s more, the brand has a loyal following of women of all ages.
The Nine West mystique endures and continues to grow.