Apr 16, 2023

With Its New Angel Shoe, Nodaleto Grows Up

PARIS — Nodaleto is growing out of its chunky heels.

As Julia Toledano enters her 30s, the shoe brand she cofounded with her partner Olivier Leone is embarking on its next phase of growth, with the introduction of its first new heel shape since the label was launched in 2019.

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Part of the spring 2023 collection, the Angel comes with a slimmer curved heel with a graphic indent that nods to Nodaleto's signature Bulla Babies shoe, while targeting a more mature customer with a sensual bent.

"The Nodaleto Girl is becoming a Nodaleto Woman," said Toledano, who turned 30 in April and recently announced she is expecting her first child. "It's a transition that doesn't ignore the past. Rather, it's an evolution that goes along with me growing up."

Having opened its first store in Miami at the end of last year, the brand hopes to launch a new pillar and open a new boutique every year between now and 2027, starting with Paris at the end of this year, and New York City and Seoul further down the line. A handbag and other accessories are also in the works.

In the last 12 months, Nodaleto has doubled the size of its team to more than 20 people and feels ready to grow beyond its widely copied block-heeled mary jane style, famously sported by Camille Razat on the Netflix series "Emily in Paris," to offer an entire universe of footwear.

"We started off strong with a highly recognizable style, but we don't identify as a buzzy brand. We want to create a timeless label that goes beyond trends," Leone said.

"In the medium to long term, this brand has to become a maison and a real shoe brand on a par with the likes of Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Gianvito Rossi," he added.

While the privately owned company doesn't publish results, Toledano said it has grown 120 percent per year since its launch and made twice its projected revenues in its first four years of existence. It is available in 90 points of sale worldwide and hopes to increase to more than 150 by 2027, she said.

Online sales represent between 25 percent and 30 percent of turnover, and Nodaleto hopes to raise that proportion to 50 percent, with directly owned stores accounting for 20 percent, and wholesale 30 percent, Leone detailed.

The brand, which handles its own e-commerce, opened its first warehouse in France in 2021 and wants to add dedicated warehouses in the U.S. and Asia. It also plans to start shipping from Miami at the end of 2023, Toledano said.

The store there is performing slightly better than expected, though business is seasonal, driven by high-profile events like Art Basel Miami and the Formula One Grand Prix.

"The opening of this boutique was like a laboratory for us," Leone said. "We are talking to a new clientele that is not necessarily familiar with the product."

Beyond recognizing the need to cater to a slightly older demographic, Nodaleto is working on two collaborations, following a first partnership with Marc Jacobs’ streetwear line Heaven in 2021 on a Gen Z-friendly capsule collection of ’90s-inspired shoes and boots.

And while it is already popular with K-pop stars like Blackpink's Jennie, Toledano would like to branch out into custom styles for celebrities. "In the future, I would really like to work in collaboration with the artists, but it takes more time," she said. "We would love to do stage wear."

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