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In Conversation with Paul Farago of Ace Marks

Paul Farago is a second-generation luxury footwear professional with expertise in international branding, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. In 2016, he founded Ace Marks, a direct-to-consumer luxury men’s footwear brand with a mission to make luxury footwear accessible. Ace Marks was the most funded footwear project in crowdfunding history until 2019 having raised over $2.5M on Kickstarter. Prior to this he spent over 15 years at Kinderland, Inc. in multiple roles, including COO, where he oversaw sourcing, licensing & distribution operations for their portfolio of brands which have included D&G Jrs., Donald Pliner Jrs, Robert Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, and Venettini among various other luxury labels.

Ace Marks wasn't created on a whim, it is the product of a lifetime of experience in the luxury footwear business and realising that it’s broken - men shouldn't have to spend obscene amounts for a handcrafted world-class shoe. In late 2012 Paul realised that men had three choices when it came to dress shoes. Buy cheap, poorly made shoes, spend a little more to get a pair with a slight cosmetic upgrade, or spend an uncomfortable amount on a pair from the luxury superpowers. If you like to look good, these aren’t good choices. Harnessing modern technology, the brand knew that they could get rid of middlemen and their markups to directly deliver a world-class, handcrafted shoe rivaling those of the top luxury brands, all at an attainable price.

In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Paul Farago, Founder of Ace Marks about how this DTC luxury shoe brand was founded after a very successful Kickstarter campaign. With a family history of luxury Italian shoemaking the brand aims to offer high quality shoes at attainable prices. Our host Peter Brooker and Paul talked about the brand's recently created leather shoe and sneaker that folds flat in your luggage, how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign, working with influencers, buffalo leather, the importance of developing relationships, how to keep your sneakers clean, and how they've been affect by Covid-19.

“Ace marks is a direct-to-consumer men's luxury shoe brand that I started back in 2016 with the sole purpose of making real luxury shoes. High quality, very well-crafted shoes, accessible to just about everyone. When we made the decision to go to Kickstarter, we were aware that many people have been burned by crowdfunding campaigns in the past and we didn't want our brand to start off being associated with any negativity. But nonetheless, we ended up moving forward with it and we focussed on selling ourselves, our team, our history, and our knowledge of the footwear industry." 

"It was about getting our audience to buy into the fact that we're able to create something that otherwise wouldn't be attainable. And we're the right team to get this done for you. Thankfully, that message resonated with our audience, and we surpassed our goal and delivered a great product. My family's been in the shoe business for over 30 years, and we've always been in the higher end of the shoe business, the luxury side. I was able to go to the relationships that they had built over a few decades, especially in Italy, which is where they started their business. I think that's one of the reasons that our backers trusted us early on.”

This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 142 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Paul Farago, Founder of acemarks.com. You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.

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