Innovative Portuguese Retail Concept Expands into Canada with 1st Store

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Innovative Portuguese footwear brand galibelle (spelled with a lowercase ‘g’) has opened its first Canadian boutique, and a second location is set to open next month. The concept is particularly unique for its versatility and customization, and its Canadian master franchisee plans to expand galibelle into new markets over the next several years.  

The concept is unique and simple — consumers first pick a desired shoe sole, then choose from a variety of potential top straps that interchangeably button onto the sole. With over 30 different sole styles and over 1,000 different interchangeable straps of various colours and materials, women are able to customize their sandals, heels or boots, depending on the occasion.

galibelle in Edmonton, Alberta (Image: galibelle)

The shoes are designed and made in Brazil, and could result in cost savings for purchasers in the long run. Soles range in price between $45 and $99, and straps range between $20 and $50. Multiple coloured straps can be paired with one sole, reducing the need to buy multiple pairs of shoes. The designs are also convenient for travel — straps lay flat, so multiple sets can be packed with just one or two soles while traveling lighter. 

The galibelle concept launched in 2007 and retail operations began to take off in 2012. It now boasts stores in 15 countries globally in Europe, Africa and Australia. Galibelle also expanded into the United States last year and currently has three locations in Florida. 

galibelle in Edmonton, Alberta (Image: galibelle)

Canadian master franchisees David and Lisa Broesky brought the concept to Canada after discovering galibelle while on a holiday in Barcelona, Spain. They opened their first store last month at 10640 82 (Whyte) Avenue in Edmonton’s trendy Old Strathcona area. A second store will open next month in downtown Kelowna. 

The Edmonton store measures less than 800 square feet in size and carries a wide variety of galibelle styles, as well as the brand’s boots and accessories. The Kelowna store will be a bit larger, spanning about 1,200 square feet. As the concept expands, stores could be as small as 500 square feet in size, said Mr. Broesky. 

The couple will look to expand galibelle into other Canadian markets after evaluating its initial success. If the brand takes off, Mr. Broesky said that markets such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and other cities could be targeted for new galibelle stores. Urban street-front spaces are ideal, according to Mr. Broesky, as they lend themselves to a community-focused brand following.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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