While the retail sector has had its share of challenges over the past few years, they pale in comparison to what it’s facing now.
“Never have we experienced a threat as acute as what we’re experiencing today, living with COVID-19,” RBC Capital Markets’ Nurit Altman shared this week online. “The virus and corresponding shutdown are threatening the entire retail ecosystem, from supply chain to the retailers themselves, their landlords and their lenders.”
Brick-and-mortar retailers are being hit hard by the crisis but there are some positive stories to tell in the direct-to-consumer space.
While sales in the footwear category are down 40 per cent, one Vancouver-based sneaker company has tripled sales since turning their business into a platform for doing good.
In the last few weeks, Vessi Footwear has turned to their online community to ask how they could give back, launching a series of initiatives for COVID relief.
They’ve given away 2,000 free sneakers to health care heroes, launched a ‘pay what you can’ model to donate an incredible 400,000 masks, and this week announced a Community Fund Program where they fund any COVID-19 initiative that someone wants to start.
Vessi has set aside $100,000 for their Community Fund Program and have pledged to give away $1,000 a day. Submit your ideas to Vessi today.
Vessi was co-founded in 2018 by Mikaella Go, Andy Wang, and Tony Yu, raising over $2 million on Kickstarter for their waterproof sneakers.
The startup is currently experiencing 80 per cent month-over-month growth and expects to hit 1 million customers by the end of 2020.