Mercer Amsterdam is a high-end sneaker label that is based in Amsterdam and offers footwear and accessories for men and women. Here, RLI speaks with Founder and Designer Pim Dresen to discuss how the brand has grown and what the idea behind the company is.
The business was named after Mercer Street in New York City where Pim Dresen bought his first pair of sneakers at age 10. Today the products are produced in family-owned factories in Portugal and Italy with a heavy focus
The focus of the company is to manufacture distinct silhouettes that are fully-designed in-house from sole-to-lace and create a unique look-and-feel with a luxury touch that is incomparable to any other brand.
Today Mercer Amsterdam is available in over 150 stores across the world as well as in its brand store in Amsterdam at Ferdinand Bolstraat 54.
“At Mercer we want to change the perception of the consumer regarding sustainable and vegan products,” explains Pim Dresen, Founder and Designer at Mercer Amsterdam. “We want to show the consumer it can be cool, that it can be high-end and that it can be sustainable, all in one product.”
Dresen explains that due to the market conditions in recent times, the company has been able to take a step back and to take some time and really visualise the Mercer Amsterdam story. Furthermore, he goes onto say that the conditions has made the brand focus even more on their own way forward and their own story after spending much of the past few years serving the needs of third parties.
Despite everything that has gone on in the world in the last 18 months, the plans for their own brand store with a physical connection to their design office was already in motion. So instead of halting their plans, they decided to still open their doors despite the unusual circumstances.
“Instead of being on the defensive we thought, let’s be pro-active, positive and brave, and to not let any negative emotion and risk-evaluation take over. Telling the Mercer story from our Amsterdam base has helped us immensely and given us so much energy,” Dresen says.
The energy and success of this maiden store has paved the way for them to now look for follow-up stores and they are in the process of locating perfect sites for Mercer stores in London and Paris. Once they find the right spot, they are hopeful of moving quickly and securing the location and being up and running in these new markets in the upcoming year.
Standing for an honest and sustainable product, Mercer only works with unique sustainable materials to create an environmentally conscious production process. This idealistic approach comes from the intrinsic motivation of Dresen to make a positive impact on the sector and
This outside of the box thinking has resulted in unique innovations and allowed for cross industry collaborations. Three years ago they produced the first-ever sneaker made from pineapple ‘leather, a material that has since turned into one of their best-selling products and has become a customer favourite.
A debut of a more recent collection featured outsoles made of algae’s and cork, whilst another featured a sneaker made from Italian grapes. The founder’s passion for plant-based materials has been evident for many years as he really aims for unique designs that maintain Mercer’s position at the cutting edge.
“Our aim is to be at the forefront of the sustainable innovation to show the market that standard materials can be interchanged for plant-based, recycled materials, and still be cool,” explains Dresen. “To involve the customer in this process we ask them to collect old sneakers to be recycled and processed into fashion items, playgrounds, floors and more, we do this together with our partner FastFeetGrinded.”
To help grow the brand they have been active across the social media platforms, and they work particularly hard on their Instagram content, telling their story and feeding their growing follower base with inspiring images and brand content and information. Their main goal is not to push with influencers, the business loves their consumers being authentic and falling in love with Mercer sneakers because they are exclusive and different.
“The true Mercer lover falls for our iconic, exclusive silhouette because they know that all our designs are our own from sole-to-lace, like the show I designed for NASA, this is what keeps them loyal and coming back to the brand they love,” comments Dresen.
Looking to the future, Dresen explains that the main challenge for them as a small brand with a high focus on sustainability is that it’s hard to make a change with the power they have in the factories.
“It’s really hard to create awareness surrounding sustainability practices when you don’t have the upper hand in the discussion. For a lot of factories we are but a small player, but we will keep pushing the envelope and we will keep doing what we do,” Dresen concludes.