Start-Up Fashion Brand Pays Big Bucks for Sneaker Art

A start-up called BucketFeet, which just raised $7.5 million in Series A funding, wants to jazz up your shoes with art. Much like those Warhol-inflected Converse everyone’s coveting right now (see Converse x Andy Warhol Coming in February), BucketFeet’s mission is to put art on canvas shoes and sell them online as well as through brick-and-mortar retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

But unlike the Converse collab, this brand is hoping to use art by emerging or unknown artists, and plans to pay them at least a $250 down payment, as well as $1 for every pair of shoes sold.

Techcrunch reports that artists can apply to be a BucketFeet artist online, and the best designs will be printed on shoes, with manufacturing and distribution handled by the company.

The minimum run for a shoe is about 1,000 pairs, and cofounder Raaja Nemani says that sell-through is consistently high, meaning that most artists will make at least $1,250 on a single piece of art, while the highest paid artists could rake in up to $20,000.

Part of the selection process involves having a hearty social media presence in addition to a great design. Most artists chosen have about 2,000 collective social media followers, and the entire artist network has more than 24 million followers on social media, with the idea being that the selected artists are brand ambassadors for the company, helping to push the product to their already built-in fan base.

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