Bambino Fine Shoes, a family-owned footwear business, provides a unique experience focussing only on children’s footwear. After recently opening its second location downtown Oakville, the brand already has plans to expand by six stores within the next five years, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area and a possible location in Vancouver.
The founder, Luis Roldan, created the brand as he was experiencing difficulties finding proper footwear for his five children. The first location opened in Toronto in May 2022 near High Park and the second location recently opened in downtown Oakville.
“We wanted to bring high-quality footwear to the market as the proper footwear throughout childhood makes a significant difference in the child’s upbringing. A child’s foot is extremely malleable and very impressionable and if you are not using the correct size or the correct footwear – it can be detrimental to the child’s health. All of our brands are pediatrician approved and are engineered to help the child develop at the right stage.”
Bambino’s New Oakville Location
The new location in Oakville was based on its shopping area, new street improvements, its family-oriented community, and its matching values.
“When we were looking to expand and open our second brick-and-mortar store, we were very particular as to where that should be. We were looking for an upscale shopping district, one that had character, was family-oriented, and one that had services and products being offered with a very client-centric approach – not a transactional mindset, but somewhere where you can go spend the afternoon, walk around, and make it a destination and really an experience for the entire family. We found there was a perfect synergy between what our brand was looking to offer and what Oakville downtown was able to deliver.”
The brand offers a wide variety of children’s footwear, ranging from newborns to around nine-years-old: baby, toddler, and youth sizes. Consumers can expect sizing assistance from staff and the store is set up to make shoe shopping interactive and engaging for both parents and children.
Easy for parents; enjoyable for children
Locations are designed to be a low-friction, fun environment for children to enjoy. This includes providing activities such as colouring and there is a section where children can go in and play. The brand also gives out balloons to every child and has a treasure chest where children can pick out a toy, whether they purchased a pair of shoes or not: “They are walking away with a gift. They select it, they take away this little treasure, and hopefully remember this experience.”
“We find buying shoes for parents is almost as daunting as taking kids to the dentist. So we try to remove all of that by doing the homework for the parents and being able to provide them with solutions. It is a very fun experience for the child and I think it is important because when the child is in the right mind, their choices come out. Kids are very involved in the choice they make, so we look for ways to make it a fun environment for them. Often kids don’t want to leave the store and that is a win for us.”
The stores offer a warm, welcoming and enjoyable environment for families – turning a difficult task into a pleasant experience.
If the shoe choice is unavailable, the store offers a virtual inventory showcasing what shoes they have in its distribution centre; expanding the selection for kids shoes. “If you don’t find a particular style you are looking for, we can find it on the virtual wall. It is an interactive screen we can pull different sizes from, make recommendations, and ship for free within one day within the GTA.”
Roldan says the brand offers shipping across Canada and provides free returns as the brand is trying to make the shopping experience “restriction free.”
Bambino’s vision for future growth
On top of Bambino’s currency loyalty program, the brand is also developing a loyalty program called the Bambino Club which will offer perks to frequent shoppers. The new loyalty program is set to provide more than just points; it will include special access to a resource library, special deliveries, and exclusive launches that would not be accessible online or in-store without the membership. The current loyalty program only offers points: “That is what most retailers are doing. Our new loyalty program will be giving back to our consumers. It is not only to earn points, but will also provide additional benefits by shopping through us.”
Roldan says he is also ready to take the brand to the next level by expanding to six stores within five years. The plan would be to launch these locations within the GTA, locations will be provided at a later date but Roldan said two possible locations he is looking at includes Woodbridge and Bayview. Additionally, the brand is looking to expand in Vancouver by 2026.
“We are a family based business and we are passionate about what we do. We don’t compromise the quality for the immediate financial gain, we are in this with a community mindset. We want parents to really look at the health component in how footwear really does affect a child’s upbringing – we can’t emphasise that enough.”