The Sunday Boston Globe recently featured Camtrade CEO Frank Cammarata in a column entitled “Business Plan.” The writer, Cindy Cantrell, asked Frank about starting Camtrade and his vision for the company.
Take a look:
Boxborough shoe company finds just the right fit
Frank Cammarata is the owner and chief executive of Boxborough-based Camtrade LLC.
By Cindy Cantrell Globe Correspondent February 14, 2018
With 30 years of experience as a retail shoe buyer and wholesaler, Camtrade CEO Frank Cammarata of Southborough took his biggest step in the footwear industry by launching Camtrade LLC in 2013.
The Boxborough company operates two branded lines of high-style women’s footwear at affordable prices. Secret Celebrity features city chic fashion designs, relying on unique materials, shapes, and embellishments. Soft Comfort is an assortment of relaxed, sporty-casual looks with extra-padded insoles, elasticized uppers, and breathable fabric linings with added backing. Both collections consist of flats, wedges, boots, booties, and sandals.
Q. What does it take to stand out in such a competitive industry
A. There isn’t much left to invent, so you need a creative design and fresh materials to create distinction. We used to design primarily black, brown, and navy shoes because they tend to sell best, but we have become more innovative with color, unique styling, and heel shapes. Comfort is another major component, so our niche is offering all of that at a price level that is compelling and accessible to the consumer.
Q. What led to the launch of Secret Celebrity’s new athleisure line
A. There was a need for freshness and newness in the traditional sneaker business, which has exploded in the last 10 years. We also felt it was the natural progression for our Secret Celebrity brand, whose name lends itself to an on-the-go, active-ready lifestyle.
Q. Is e-commerce or brick-and-mortar sales channels more important?
A. I prefer the customer service that is possible through brick-and-mortar sales, but e-commerce is so important that we must embrace it. It’s more challenging to ship one pair of shoes at a time, but we’ll do whatever it takes to get them on the feet of consumers in order to build trust, continuity, and confidence in the brand.
Q. What is your vision for the company?
A. Other than being a good family man, I would like to be known as a person who managed a successful business where people grew, learned, flourished, and had some fun along the way. Yes, I want to compete and win, but not at the cost of our people. I’d run through a wall for them, and I’d like to think they’d do the same for me. That’s the reward for my passion.
Secret Celebrity and Soft Comfort shoes are sold at independent retailers, boutiques, department stores, and online sites including camtradeinc.com.
Cindy Cantrell can be reached at email@example.com.