The founder of fashion ecommerce store Rue La La is making a bold step in the luxury shoe market. Footwear fashionistas, take note.
Ben Fischman’s latest venture, M.Gemi, announced today, offers designer, handcrafted women’s dress shoes for $128 to $298, or about one-third the cost of comparable quality shoes.
M.Gemi cuts out middlemen and traditional retail storefronts by working directly with family-owned, artisanal Italian factories. The company operates out of offices in Boston and Florence, Italy.
This idea of cutting out middlemen and foregoing traditional retail shops in order to bring price down and keep quality high is particularly en vogue at the moment. That’s what Everlane is doing for basics, Crane & Canopy is doing for bedding, and CombatGent is doing for menswear.
Shoe styles sold on M.Gemi are made in small batches and only available for a limited time. Every Monday, a new selection of designer styles are revealed on the website.
“We saw a white space in the footwear market,” said Fischman, in a statement. “Women know that the finest handcrafted, luxury shoes are made in Italy, but the prices have become astronomical, so we are reinventing the Italian shoe business for the American market.”
The shoe startup has gotten the attention of investors, with about $14 million in seed and Series A funding already tucked in its (no doubt designer, beautifully crafted) handbag.
Fischman, who also founded sports cap retailer Lids, abruptly stepped down as CEO of Rue La La in April 2013.Related: Self-Made Billionaire Michael Rubin: E-Commerce Is Rapidly Changing