Allbirds launched in March 2016 with a single shoe made from New Zealand merino wool. Allbirds’s mission is to redefine the footwear industry by thoughtfully harnessing materials from nature to create footwear that is highly sustainable without sacrificing style. (Time magazine called them “the world’s most comfortable shoe.”) In the following months, Allbirds has consistently smashed sales targets, built a community of brand champions, and recently raised a significant new round of funding.
Simon Endres shares the challenges and opportunities leading up to launch and explores how his team continues to evolve the work they’ve established as the Allbirds business continues to thrive. Simon explains how crucial it was to establish a core idea based on a true insight that would drive all of the company’s decisions and build a rich, layered brand identity that could both tell the story of the product and own a unique visual and emotional territory in the hearts and minds of customers—and how close collaboration with the company’s passionate founders was essential to its current success.
Along the way, Simon walks you through the process of physical product design, materials, prototyping, and manufacturing, discussing how he challenged his industrial design team to develop a shipping and unboxing experience that was smarter and more sustainable. He also outlines how his team built a brand identity that worked hard at every touchpoint and how that identity came to life in an immersive digital experience that had to balance the business, strategic, and creative goals of the project across multiple platforms—ultimately building a brand that resonates with the end user alongside a loyal and active community of customers that continuously drives meaningful growth.
Simon Endres is creative director and one of three partners at Red Antler, a branding company based in Dumbo, Brooklyn, specializing in startups and new ventures, which creates captivating brand experiences that connect with people deliberately, through all points of interaction. Under Simon’s leadership, the design team has created brand experiences for some of the world’s most compelling new businesses—most notably Casper, Allbirds, Foursquare, Birchbox, and Vevo. Simon has over 20 years of experience in advertising and branding, which has included work for Target, Sony, Tommy Hilfiger, and Amnesty International. Previously, he was an accomplished sculptor with work held in both private and public collections. After moving to New York, he cofounded Team ProAm following a two-year stint as senior designer with Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners, New York. Simon holds a BFA with honors in sculpture from Canterbury University and has taught at Parsons School of Design. A New Zealand native, Simon lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.
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