Robeez Footwear Seeks Global Marketer

NEW YORK Robeez Footwear, manufacturer of soft-soled shoes for toddlers, today called for proposals from agencies to handle its first international marketing push, the budget for which “will be under the recommendation of the shop appointed,” a client representative said.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company, which sells shoes in North America, the United Kingdom, Asia and Australia, this year expanded its marketing department from three people to about a dozen, according to Hanna de Guzman, communications and public relations manager.

While the department has been managing its primarily trade ad initiatives through a number of local agencies, it is now calling a single agency partner that will be able to provide international consumer and b-to-b advertising, media placement, collateral, market research, public relations and packaging design, according to a form circulated to shops.

“Ideally we would like to partner with one agency of choice,” said de Guzman. If that agency did not have those capabilities in place internationally, “we would expect for them to have a network of affiliates in place.”

Agencies considered will have experience with international consumer brands, traditional and online media capabilities, and experience working with “entrepreneurial organizations,” according to the company.

According to the Robeez Web site, Sandra Wilson, who in 1994 was laid off from her airline job and began handcrafting leather shoes for her young son Robert, founded the company. In August 2001, sales topped $1.2 million (Canadian) and then doubled by the following year. Current sales surpass the $15 million mark.

Robeez Footwear has about 400 employees and sells shoes in more than 4,500 stores in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of Asia, according to the site. The company carries more than 70 shoe designs, which retail for between $26 and $37.

Proposals are due back Nov. 11, and the client intends to have a shortlist in place by the end of that month. A decision is due before Dec. 25, de Guzman said.