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Jamie Barshall to launch US footwear brand in UK

Former owner of outdoor brand Penfield Jamie Barshall is launching US sandal and flip-flop brand Okabashi in the UK for spring 18.

Barshall joined the family-owned US-made shoe company in May as head of international, and is now readying the label’s launch in the UK.

Tim Grogan has been brought on board as head of UK sales to drive growth this side of the Atlantic. Grogan was most recently national accounts manager at Crocs and was previously national accounts manager at Kickers, which is owned by Pentland Brands.

Sara Irvani, the 29-year-old daughter of the company’s founder, Bahman Irvani, was made Okabashi’s CEO and president three months ago.

Barshall said Irvani’s vision for the company and drive drew him to the brand: “She is transforming the business. She is driving growth online, internationally and has really raised the profile of the business in the US by appearing on several TV shows. I was impressed by her enthusiasm and energy. The brands needs a long-term strategy and some TLC, and it is now getting that.”

In the UK Barshall is targeting a mix of independents, footwear multiples and department stores for the Georgia-based brand.

Okabashi was founded in 1984 and comprises two brands: Okabashi and sister line Oka-B. Okabashi focuses on classic men’s and women’s styles that provide comfort from arch support and massage beads in the sole.

Oka-B targets a younger female shopper, and features embellished styles and a slightly higher price point.

Wholesale prices for Okabashi start at around £9 and go up to £12, while prices at Oka-B start at £10 and go up to £20.

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