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Comfort Profile: Dav

The category newcomer is putting a fashionable spin on rainboots.

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When it comes to the wave of designer labels that have come into the category, including Kate Spade and Michael Kors, Kerri Sengstaken, marketing director, pointed out that rainboots are just an item for them. “There’s not a lot of research or design behind their boots,” she said. “Details like footbeds and breathability are not factored in.”

To acquaint more consumers with the brand, the Sengstakens are using grassroots marketing. Recent initiatives included participating in the 2009 Grammy Awards gift lounge. “It rained all four days, which turned out to be great for us,” recalled Dave Sengstaken. “Other vendors asked for our boots to wear.” In April, Dav appeared in the backstage gift lounge at Bravo TV’s second annual A-List Awards.

Looking ahead, the Sengstakens are focused on growing the product range. They have already added coordinating accessories, such as umbrellas, bags and socks, which account for 25 percent of sales. For fall ’09, kids’ rainboots will be introduced, priced at $27 to $45, along with pint-size umbrellas. A men’s collection also is in the works. In addition, Dav has licensed the Barbie name for a limited-edition collection of high-end looks for women and young girls. Launching for spring ’10, the offering will include boots, umbrellas and water-resistant bags, and will be available at retailers such as Fred Segal Santa Monica’s Barbie boutique.

Based on Dav’s success in the U.S., the Sengstakens also are seeking to expand internationally. The brand broke into the Canadian market earlier this year and is in the process of lining up distributors in Europe and Asia.

“People like Dav’s uniqueness,” said Dave Sengstaken. “In this retail climate, you need something new and exciting.”

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