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5 Questions for Nick Lucio

The head of Dolce Vita talks about the company's latest launch, juniors' line DV8.

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DV8 styles

Three is the magic number for Dolce Vita Footwear Inc., which just unveiled its new juniors' line, DV8.

"DV8 hits a customer, price point and audience that we did not address prior. It is a big opportunity that we are excited about, we are filling a void," co-founder and creative director Nick Lucio said.

DV8 by Dolce Vita, which launched for spring '14 and marks the company's third footwear line, is targeted at a younger consumer than the existing Dolce Vita footwear brands. It's currently available at Macy's and Zappos.com, retailing between $29 to $49 (for fall, boots will reach $70).

"She's [Our target consumer] young, she's enthusiastic, she's a trend-oriented shopper," Lucio explained. "She is looking for must-have trend items at an inexpensive price point."

Founded in 2001, the company also houses Dolce Vita and DV by Dolce Vita.

After closing its store on Elizabeth Street in New York, the company is exploring other retail opportunities in the city. (The brand also formerly operated a store on Melrose Place in Los Angeles.)

"We are pursuing new leases currently, and New York is always our first priority for a flagship store," Lucio said.

Here, he talks about the fast-paced juniors' consumer and the speed needed to keep up.

1. How does this line differ from your core brands?
NL:
Even though we have three lines, we are very customer-specific for each one. They all have the same trend direction, but we think about that consumer more than anything. Three separate design teams only focus on their own line. When you look at Dolce Vita and you look at DV8, they don't compete at all.

2. What is the best way to track your consumers' wants?
NL:
We spend time with her, we are out on the street. We go places our consumer goes. We read the same online blogs and get involved in social media. It is not about being part of a focus group, it is being out with them where they are.

3. What is one of the greatest challenges when targeting the juniors' consumer?
NL:
Our customer moves fast, so you have to be quick and you have to have a speed at market to keep up with her. It's really that she is very savvy to trends. She is online, she is connected. We have to have great sourcing to deliver quality at a fast pace.

4. Then what is your strategy for staying up to speed?
NL:
At this price point, it works best to stay focused and make smaller quantities. She wants a key item for each occasion — a sport shoe, flat sandal, for evening; she doesn't want an entire collection of dress shoes. We are aiming to capture [the aesthetic] with eight to 15 items of must-have silhouettes; we don't want a collection of 60 styles.

5. Any plans to add another line to the Dolce Vita family?
NL:
I certainly wouldn't rule it out. We are continuing to pursue collaborations within each line, like [accessories designer Vanessa Mooney] for DV, but no plans to introduce an additional line at this point. DV8 is very appropriate for a collaboration, so more to come there.

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