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3 Questions for Vince Lebon

The founder of Australian brand Rollie moves forward with two collaborations for fall and a U.S. push.

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Rollie is on a roll.

The Australian brand, launched in 2011, will extend its reach to more Nordstrom doors and at Nordstrom.com over the next few months. Priced at $99 to $150, the collection also sells at independent accounts in New York City like DNA Footwear, Shoegasm and Tani.

"In all of our markets, word of mouth plays a major role, as our shoes are so light, comfortable and fun," said Vince Lebon, founder and designer. "After speaking with our [consumers], we can see that momentum is really starting to build."

The brand also has a couple of collaborations on deck with artist Jodee Knowles, who created a life-size painting then used to create a limited-edition collection of high-tops for fall '14.

"Her aesthetic is very unique and fits in with our company values of creativity, innovation and expression through art," Lebon said.

Additionally, Rollie partnered with local Australian designer brand Et Al for fall '14 to add "more of a contemporary edge to our existing silhouettes and reimagine them in luxe materials with our signature ultralight footwear," the designer said.

Now, the brand is focusing on a U.S. push over the next 24 months through wholesale channels, PR efforts and, of course, social media.

"Because our shoes are so visual and because of the emotional connection Rollie has with our customers through color and materials, Instagram is our most engaging platform for social media," Lebon added.

Here, Lebon talks about the challenges of being a young brand and how he uses hobbies as a source of inspiration.

1. How will these collaborations impact the young brand?
VL:
We are able to leverage on our existing reach both because the values are in line, and there is a genuine intake and pride for the project and its execution.

2. Where do you find inspiration in your spare time — any hobbies?
VL:
I'm inspired by what's around me, in music and the people, plus things I came across in my travels. I play basketball, listen to music and love good food. Luckily for me, I love what I do for a living.
 
3. What is one of your biggest challenges with the brand at the moment?
VL:
Resources. The company was launched three years ago, and we're in 10 countries in some of the best stores around the globe, yet the team is still very small. This, however, allows us to stay on brand a lot easier, so there are positives in everything.

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