Last March, Allbirds hit the market with a single product: a wool sneaker that didn't require you to wear socks. The brand, which has raised a total of $9.95 million in funding, was a big hit among techies and entrepreneurs. (In this month's magazine, the founder of Lola recommended it.) According to the founders, the company set itself very ambitious targets for the first year and ended up surpassing them by five times.
Today, the company launches a new wool shoe in a smoking slipper silhouette that it is calling the "Lounger." It's a flat slip-on that feels much like the previous Runner style, but does not have laces. The Allbirds design team came up with dozens of prototypes before landing on this one. "This was much harder to design than the Runner," cofounder Tim Brown explains. "There's so little to work with on a flat shoe. Everything needed to be perfect, because there was nowhere for us to hide imperfections."
The brand expects the same level of growth in its second year of business. It has strong relationships with its partners across the supply chain, from the wool farms in New Zealand to the mill in Italy that creates the fabric in the shoe. This has allowed it to scale quickly as demand has grown.