Vessi to Open its 2nd Location in Mississauga Following Successful Vancouver Store Launch [Interview]


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Following a very successful launch of its first store last fall at Metropolis at Metrotown near Vancouver, waterproof footwear brand Vessi will be launching its second store this fall at Square One in Mississauga.

Mikaella Go, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, said the goal is to have the new store open in October.

Mikaella Go

“(The Metrotown) opening has been really great,” she said. “The first day we opened up the store the lineup was insane. It was just crazy. It was so nice to see and since then it’s been really, really good.

“If you take a look at our store in Metrotown, one thing I love about the store is its design. It’s really an homage to the community of that city. Inside the Vancouver one how we’ve designed it like mountains how the shoes are placed, the scenery is about nature. And the one in Toronto is really about the elements of water.

“We’re engaging with local Toronto artists to help us paint murals that would go outside and inside the store. I’m super excited.”

Vessi Square One (Rendering: Vessi)

Go said when the retailer took a look at where its customers were, the Toronto area was one of the areas where the company was strong.

“One of the feedbacks we had is that people really wanted to try on the shoes – the physical product itself. We knew we wanted to open a store in Toronto and what led us to Square One is our customers. We did send out a survey asking where people wanted to shop, we took a look at the demographics of where our customers really were. Square One seemed to be the right place for us,” she said.

The store will be about 2,000 square feet, similar to the Metrotown store, and taking over the old Geox store space.

Vessi at Metropolis at Metrotown (Image: Craig Patterson)

David Garbuz of brokerage Oberfeld Snowcap is representing Vessi in its Canadian store expansion, with other locations said to be in the works.

David Garbuz

“That’s the plan. We definitely want to open up more stores, give people more access to shoes,” said Go. “We’re also rolling out in wholesale slowly. Right now we’re just laying the foundation. We’re looking into different partnerships. Where does it belong? Is it more boutique shops? Is it bigger stores? That’s something we’re still working through it now.”

Vessi is one of North America’s fastest growing sneaker companies. Founded in 2018, its mission is to inspire happiness in all-weather by creating everyday wear that gets people out there, rain or shine. They’ve built up a loyal fan base and have become one of Vancouver’s most beloved brands, and have sold over 1,000,000 pairs of sneakers.

Go said the company will also be launching in the fall its first-ever winter boot.

“It’s really designed for our East Coast customers or our customers that live where there is more ice and slush,” she said. “I’m super excited to launch that. It looks really great and people are going to love it.”

Vessi Metropolis at Metrotown (Image: Vessi)

The idea of Vessi came to the three Vancouver founders of the company who quite simply had it with the rainy weather. So they set out to create a totally waterproof sneaker that not only kept their socks dry, but kept their feet sweat-free, comfortable and looking stylish.

The company was launched on Kickstarter and was solely an online business until the opening of the Vancouver store last year.

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.


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