Steve Madden’s ‘Dolce Vita’ Brand Set to Debut in Canada with Vancouver Test Store [Interviews]

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Retailer Steve Madden is launching its first ever store for its Dolce Vita brand in Canada with a new pop-up location slated for the Metropolis at Metrotown in Vancouver.

Jennifer Walewski, President of Steve Madden Canada, said the store will be opening August 24. The store is 1,286 square feet.

“The current pop-up is a small boutique feel. We are looking to turn this into a permanent location. We had a very strong wholesale business throughout the years  and we launched our website in November which had a really great reaction. A lot of customers also reach out to us to open up stores. 

“Right now we’re are going to be testing the concept through pop-ups but we do feel there’s going to be a strong potential to open permanent locations across Canada.”

Dolce Vita’s New York flagship store in SoHo, New York City. Image: Dolce Vita

She said Dolce Vita sees a minimum of five stores in the future in Canada. 

“It will be like a very small square footage footprint in each of the malls we decide to go in but we feel there’s a very strong demand. We have a lot of interest for customers to have brick and mortar. We see a minimum of five stores in Canada,” said Walewski.

There are 24 Steve Madden stores in Canada.

Dolce Vita has two stores in the U.S. – in Melrose, Los Angeles, and Soho, New York City.

“The U.S. has a slightly different strategy. They had a big surge of the brand during the pandemic. Their online business is doing great and they also have a very strong wholesale business.” said Walewski. “The Soho location just opened earlier this year and they’re seeing fantastic results.”

Dolce Vita’s New York flagship store in SoHo, New York City. Image: Dolce Vita

She said the Dolce Vita brand’s customer demographic is focused on women from 25 to 55 years old.

“Dolce Vita began in New York, and offers a quality product at an attainable price point. From dressy heels to waterproof boots to everyday sneakers, we have styles available for everyone, “added Walewski. “And it’s definitely a brand that’s on the upswing.”

“In terms of the look and feel of it, it’s a very unique customer that we’re going after.”

The brand also has handbags.

Walewski said opening in Metrotown is a perfect location for the customer demographic the brand is targeting. There is also significant demand from the west coast.

Ben Labrecque

“This is a great opportunity for Dolce Vita to “step into” the growing Canadian retail market, and an even greater opportunity for Canadian consumers to purchase design-driven, quality products at an attainable price point. We look forward to facilitating and being part of Dolce Vita’s strategic retail roll out strategy,” said Ben Labrecque, Managing Partner, Client Services at Oakmont Real Estate Services.

Walewski said the brand has a large wholesale distribution in about 200 accounts across Canada from small to big stores.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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