Charles & Keith is an international fashion footwear brand with more than 190 stores all around the world. It was founded with a vision to empower women around the world to express themselves freely through fashion.
It all started in the 1990s, when the brothers Charles and Keith Wong worked at their mother’s shoe store at Ang Mo Kio district of Singapore. They had wanted to learn the ropes of managing a shoe business before opening their first store in 1996 at Amara Shopping Centre. (AKA the 100 AM).
Charles was 22 years old when he founded the company. His brother Keith joined 2 years later, after finishing his national service. Charles never joined any university, making his younger brother Keith the only one in the family with a university degree!
The fun fact in their story is that the mother wanted to close down her shoe shop because it wasn’t making any money. Charles had a different vision, which worked out very handsomely, I’d say!
Charles & Keith (C&K) adopted a new business model for their label because they observed that the traditional model of selling shoes purchased from wholesale suppliers was unsustainable. To stand out from the competition, the company started designing and manufacturing their own shoes in 1997 based on customers’ feedback.
This strategic move allowed the company to gain greater brand recognition from their target clientele. As the business grew, the company cut out the middleman and began working directly with production factories as a unique brand.
In 1998, Charles & Keith began to expand their operations overseas beyond Singapore when they ventured into Indonesia and Australia.
By 2001, Charles & Keith opened their first store in the Philippines. By 2015, they had more than 30 stores around the country.
C&K was the first Singaporean company to launch an e-commerce website https://www.charleskeith.com
In 2004, they ventured out of Asia and debuted in the Middle East with a store in Dubai. Another shop opened in Saudi Arabia in 2005. By 2011, the brand had over 230 stores across the world mostly based in the Middle East and Asia.
In 2005, Charles & Keith launched Pedro; a line of men’s footwear. Their product range was increased in 2007 to include accessories such as belts and sunglasses and higher end products.
Since its establishment in 1996, the brand has expanded its reach beyond brick-and-mortar stores. Its stylish and trend-focused designs are available in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the US.
I will leave you with this last fun fact. You can use cryptocurrency to order from C&K online store!
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