New Balance President & CEO DeMartini Discusses Casual Shoe Production
New Balance President & CEO Rob DeMartini said the company, through its Made in the USA program, is producing more casual shoes than before because it can "command a premium for it and consumers flock to it," according to Taryn Luna of the BOSTON GLOBE. DeMartini added, "The New Balance brand is still a performance brand at its heart, but lifestyle is very popular. It probably makes up 35 percent of our total sales. It’s sports shoes worn on Friday and Saturday nights. The casual work environment has helped us. People don’t dress as formally anymore." DeMartini said of the strides the company has made in baseball, "Three years ago, we didn’t make a Major League Baseball spike. Today we have 350 players, or almost 30 percent of MLB players, in our spike. If you can prove your product performs at the highest levels, schools, colleges, and kids down to 6 years old will want to emulate the stars of the sport." He said, "We do it a little differently than some of our competitors. We don’t sign big athletes and put them in our ad campaigns. What we do is make great product and get them to wear it, and when they like it, they continue to wear it and tell their friends" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/20).