Allbirds, SF tech bros’ shoe of choice, fighting big.


Allbirds, the outspoken and washable wool sneaker that is the defacto shoe of choice for San Francisco’s tech bros, are languishing in earnest a year after debuting on the stock market.

Following Thursday’s disappointing earnings report — with the San Francisco-based company failing to meet investor expectations and revenue falling 13 percent year-over-year — Allbirds’ stock hit a near-record low after going public.

As of Friday afternoon, Allbirds shares were at a low of $1.25 each. The company Going public in 2021 at a valuation of $4 billion, the shares closed at $29 each on the stock market’s first day. Allbirds CEO and founder Joey Zwillinger attributes the company’s recent challenges to over-expansion and a recent move into athletic and activewear. Last year, the company released a line of workout apparel — a month after introducing a new sneaker made from plant-based leather.

“When we’re making those adjacent product development decisions, we unfortunately lose sight of what our core consumers like for us and continue to want from us,” Zwillinger told CNBC in an interview.

But what can Allbirds do when the end user seems to be fed up with the product? According to the Wall Street Journal, consumers are buying less expensive goods in 2022 than in 2018. Other sustainable, low-key, “timeless” shoe brand startups – Kariuma and Atoms, for example – have emerged without the baggage of their conscious and technological connection.

As the tech sector’s lucrative mass layoffs and banking transitions into a phase of austerity, the desire to work in tech—and, by proxy, your place in the world—disappears. According to author and venture capitalist Om Malik, the shoes are “the khakis of this generation” – another piece to put yourself in the “herd” of other techies.

There’s another challenge: For a sneaker that falls squarely into the stereotype of a San Francisco tech worker, it’s struggled to escape that demographic — and to find more cultural cache in the larger sneaker and apparel market. Despite the company spending millions on marketing, according to the 2022 Search Alpha report, brand awareness across America is only 11%.

The sneaker industry is particularly dependent on advertising and innovation – luxury brand collaborations, non-controversial variations and celebrity endorsements. Allbirds, for a while, at least clearly rejected the latter hip model. An E! The article mentions that the likes of Hilary Duff, Kate Hudson and Chris Pratt loved the Allbirds during the coffee rush. But they have moved on: an article published this week Ashton Kutcher absolutely He loves it. His Cariumas. And like the classic, truly timeless Adidas sneakers worn by supermodels and shoes that are now astronomically large and exotic, the Allbirds feel pinched on all ends — and missing somewhere in the middle.


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