Keds, the women’s sneaker brand born and bred in the U.S., recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. But as it heads into its next century, it’s setting its sights on Asia.
While in the U.S. many fashion brands are nixing their brick-and-mortar stores, Keds is focusing on opening 50 stand-alone stores throughout the region, including Korea, Japan, and China. They’ve even hired Korean pop star Krystal—the Taylor Swift of Asia—to be the face of the brand. “We’re experimenting with a mix of online retail, physical stores, and events, and we’ll bring all of our insights back to the U.S.,” says Emily Culp, Keds’ CMO, who has been spearheading this expansion.
Culp believes that Asia is a prime market for Keds at this moment because the company has identified an increased fascination with American culture and history in the region lately. Keds is in a good position to play up its position as part of Americana. Keds was also the first athletic shoe ever created for the female foot and asserts its identity as a staple of female empowerment in its marketing. This message has been resonating with Asian women.