At the start of 2021, BBC International acquired Heelys, transforming the original roller shoe into a fun experience and a must have accessory for an evolving lifestyle brand.
Given Heelys’ unique nature, there is a lot more to come and BBC International says she thinks she has only scratched the surface. Looking Ahead Seth Campbell, Corporate Chairman of BBC International, and Josue Solano, Managing Director of BBC International, say consumers can look forward to Heelys expanding into a lifestyle brand in its own right , in search of new categories of relevance to the consumer beyond shoes.
âHeelys is the original and authentic roller shoe and it is the heart of the brand,â said Solano. âWe have seen how much Heelys brings joy to our consumers and it really is quite a lifestyle. Now that we own the brand, we will be able to layer relevant items that go with the lifestyle.
While the company cannot disclose specific details on what is to come, the possibilities are endless with opportunities for partnerships and collaborations and a wide range of products including clothing, headgear and luggage.
For BBC International, the past decade has been marked by various licensing deals and direct acquisitions resulting in a stable of brands that are an âAâ list in the footwear business in every way. And with Heelys, BBC International will write the next chapter in its growth story, leveraging the brand as well as its sense of product development and footwear innovation to further expand the company’s global reach on a post-pandemic market with a full range of products that go beyond shoes.
Already, the company has been able to grow Heely’s loyal customer base and make it more accessible by putting the original roller shoe back on the shelves of stores such as Finish Line, DSW, Journey’s and Zappos, among others and Heelys. .com. And lately everyone from Justin Bieber to JoJo Siwa has been spotted wearing the shoe, making Heelys the latest must-have accessory.
But celebrities aren’t the only ones wearing the original roller shoe. During a conversation, Campbell and Solano told Footwear News that as part of BBC International, consumer expansion has been bolstered by prioritizing design and collaborations that match today’s trends.
Plus, Solano said, with design now at the forefront of the brand, BBC International effectively took on what was essentially a toy company trying to make shoes for a proper shoe brand. âIt’s about the desire to have the right product,â he said. âOur design expertise that we brought to Heelys allowed us to look beyond what the brand was and had done and with us it just exploded. “
Heelys licensed since 2013, BBC International had already seen success with strategic collaborations and in the future the company plans to bring in well-known designers to bring a new style to the shoes. In addition, BBC International consolidates its position in the market through cutting-edge designs, technologies and innovations.
âWhat sets us apart in the market is our ability to design, develop and find unique products in all shoe categories and genders,â Solano explained. âWe have gained global recognition for a tradition of delivering brands that consumers seek by incorporating cutting edge (and patented) technology, resulting in superior product quality. With Heelys, the BBC took it a step further by handling all of the brand’s marketing globally, which includes television, direct-to-consumer platforms, and the launch of a college ambassador program.
BBC International designers dominate the market not only by creating avant-garde looks, but by capturing the essence of each of its brands. âThere are no shortcuts,â said Campbell. âWe maintain the brand’s heritage and authenticity in everything we produce. Collaboration, innovation and design are at the heart of everything we do at BBC International. It was true when my father founded the company. And it is true today.
Campbell said the collaborations with the company’s influencers âoffer even greater reach around the world. These collaborations provide entertaining content and worldwide recognition of the original roller shoe. Past collaborations include product programs with Reebok, MTV, Beavis and Butt-Head, Barbie, SpongeBob Squarepants, and Marvel. Collaborations rolling out this year include Paul Frank, The Simpsons, Tommy Hilfiger, Rugrats, and Star Wars.
âI think the biggest thing you can attribute to the success we’ve had with Heelys coming from what the BBC has brought to the table was the variety of the produce,â Campbell said. âAt the end of the day, in this business, it all starts and ends with the product. Our design team has created an amazing assortment of products that kids want to wear and that’s always where we invest in the business.
Although the Heelys brand is no longer just for children. When Heelys debuted in the early 2000s, the skate shoe was a wardrobe staple for anyone aged 6 to 12. But today, as Y2K fashion continues to make a strong comeback, consumers of all ages are embracing this fun accessory. .
Backed by a strong social media marketing campaign that draws on top influences, a college ambassador program, and even some celebrities, the brand continues to expand its target audience every year.
âWith our collaborations, we’ve really aged our audience,â Solano said. âThe College Ambassador Program in particular is a great voice for us. We can’t believe the number of videos we see of college students crossing the stage at graduation. We know they reach older kids and that’s great, but we’ve also seen that they’re really having fun. They remember loving Heelys when they were kids and that nostalgia gave us a big following.
Christmas of 2019, Solano and Campbell said it was a special turning point for the brand with TikTok showing consumers how Heelys brought adventure to them anytime, anywhere. And the sentiment continued to grow throughout the year, especially in 2020 when due to COVID-19 and social distancing regulations, consumers craved fun activities. During the pandemic, Heelys sought to provide this to people and used social media to invite his global audience to enter different contests using the hashtag #HeelysAtHome.
Some influencers who have shared Heelys’ love with their audiences include @CHARLIDAMELIO with over 107 million TikTok followers, @JOSHRICHARDS with over 24 million TikTok followers, 7.4 million Instagram followers and 2 , 4 million YouTube subscribers; @BRYCEHALL with 19.6 million TiTok subscribers and 7.9 million Instagram subscribers; and @AVANI with over 32.5 million followers on TikTok and 16.9 followers on Instagram.
Thanks to TikTok and Instagram, Campbell said, these influencers have also re-injected enthusiasm around the brand. âWe really see organic interest through all of our ambassadors and other influencers who are reaching out to us to be part of the program to get the product,â he said. âIt’s fun and they love it! They love the experience and it’s been really exciting for us and I think it’s helped us in terms of how we market and how we plan to approach different audiences.
Looking ahead, BBC International is excited to bring more categories to life with Heelys that are sure to win big with fun loving audiences on social media and beyond.