Del Toro’s Head of Biz Development Talks Dray and Melo’s Role in the Brand

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Hours before tip-off, players arrive at the stadium rocking their newest Off-White, Balenciaga, Gucci and Fear of God’s. The trip is short, but the walk from the parking garage to the locker room comes with hundreds of photographers, all waiting to see who is sporting some serious drip.

Fast forward three hours and the fourth quarter buzzer sounds. Players stretch, ice, shower and proceed to put on their second outfit of the day. Again, the media waits to see what brands are fortunate enough to piggyback off the attention that comes with the modern day NBA superstar.

Del Toro has always had its finger on the pulse of the NBA with big, influential names such as Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Chandler Parsons, Kevin Love and Kristaps Porzingis constantly being seen in different styles of the heritage shoe brand. However, in the last year, Del Toro has really geared up for a reboot, focusing on becoming more of a global lifestyle brand and fashion incubator. To do this requires capital—luckily, the new management team was able to capture the interest of quite the All-Star team.

I sat down with Head of Business Development, Andrew Forbes, to learn more about how investments from Carmelo Anthony, Draymond Green and Maverick Carter will impact Del Toro’s business.

When did you begin with Del Toro and what is your current role?

Andrew Forbes: Fashion has always been a passion and priority of mine. I wear what I wear because I resonate with those brands. I was attracted to the Del Toro brand because of the confidence it instills in those who wear it, along with having a unique hero product in the market. I’m always looking for brands who inspire those to be the best version of themselves. For the last 18 months, my role at the company has been Head of Business Development and Operating Partner.

Why do you think Del Toro works in today’s fashion world?

Forbes: I think Del Toro works because of our unique approach. Our rebrand, which goes live in 2019, is based on a his/his, her/her and his/her lifestyle brand where every piece of clothing projects the identity of the individual or couple wearing it. Very few fashion companies are looking to create products so catered to the consumer and broaden the demographic they are attempting to appeal to.

In addition, we’re taking a new approach to creating fashion content. Rather than producing content to market our product, we’re focusing on producing lifestyle content that resonates with our audience, then create products and collaborations around the content we create.

Today we're seeing fashion brands leverage the clout and following of massively influential people in order to align with younger/millennial consumers. What do you think of brands such as John Elliott, Adidas, Barney's and Fear of God aligning themselves with people such as Lebron James, Pharrell, Russell Westbrook and John Mayer?

Forbes: Everything in the fashion space comes down to product and the marketing around the product. Now more than ever we’re seeing individuals leveraging their following and directing it towards something: A brand, a product, a cause … the list goes on. But don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of examples where it didn’t work because it wasn’t marketed correctly or the product just wasn’t good.

In the examples given above, each of those individuals fit the ethos of the brand they are working with. There is a sense of synergy that the audience can feel and therefore are inclined to go visit that pop-up, check out the website or attend that event. At the end of the day, collaborations come down to execution; and execution leads to results.

Tell us about your relationship with Carmelo, Draymond Green and Mav Carter.

Forbes: Over the past year, the Del Toro team has created a great personal and working relationship with Melo, Dray and Mav. They’ve helped us with insight into the marketplace and each fits the brand in their own way and brings a different skill set to the business.

Mav Carter has been extremely helpful from a social and marketing perspective. His connections run deep and he’s one of the savviest, most thoughtful businessmen in the game.

Draymond Green is culture. He’s really helped us keep our pulse on what is going on in the NBA, both on and off the court, while having a great following from the younger generations. Dray’s bold personality mirrors that of Del Toro.

Carmelo Anthony understands fashion, both on the style and investment side. His experience as a business owner has helped us begin to scale the Del Toro vision in a deliberate manner.

What about Del Toro interested them?

Forbes: All three of these guys saw a brand with a powerful name and a core silhouette. Del Toro has a cult following but has struggled to become mainstream, which presented an opportunity for these individuals to work with our team to help reach a new, untapped market for the Del Toro brand. By putting together a star management team and combining Rolodexes, all three believed they could help this business takeoff.

What’s been surprising about working with those guys?

Forbes: Carmelo has a great eye for fashion, as he owns and has invested in several companies. His insight and experience will help us stay on track going forward as we continue to release new product lines. In addition, we rely on him when tapping into the more developed consumer, as he’s been a superstar since the early 2000s at Syracuse.

Draymond has such high positive energy and really embodies the bold, confident look Del Toro aims to bring to consumers. His involvement has injected energy into the management team, which has already shown results from a sales perspective, as he is an icon with the younger Gen Z consumer.

Like I said before, Maverick is an incredible businessman. We attempt to mirror his approach to business, through thoughtful product, collaborations, activations and content. Mav has continuously found incredible ways to speak or bring attention to polarizing issues in society through different media and content initiatives.

How much Del Toro are they wearing?

Forbes: They all wear the shoes, to both off the court events and in their pregame fits. Keep an eye out for early 2019 when we launch our new apparel lines. Each will play a key role in how we begin marketing the products to consumers.

Who do you want wearing Del Toro?

Forbes: We’re trying to provide consumers with high-end apparel at an affordable price point. Our brand represents positive, inclusive and forward thinking minds—anyone who embodies those traits is encouraged to wear Del Toro.

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