Maria Sharapova is a multitasker.
The previous top-ranked tennis star, who retired from the game in 2020 on the age of 32, has a historical past of investing in manufacturers she’s enthusiastic about. They embody Supergoop, a sun-protection model she has been concerned with since 2014, in addition to the health model Tonal, wellness firm Therabody, and wearable weights enterprise Bala Bangles. She additionally joined the board of Moncler final spring.
Now the athlete, entrepreneur and mom can add Wolf & Shepherd to that listing.
California-based footwear model Wolf & Shepherd was based in 2015 by husband-and-wife Justin and Hope Schneider, who met operating observe in faculty at Notre Dame. After graduating, Justin Schneider labored in footwear design at Adidas, Reebok and New Stability and shortly noticed a chance to create a shoe for males that bridged the hole between gown footwear and sneakers. He crafted a prototype, accomplished a 5K race sporting them, with out getting blisters, and launched Wolf & Shepherd. The model began in males’s and has since expanded into equipment and a few hybrid fashions.
Through the years, the corporate has introduced different sports activities stars into the fold as traders and advisers together with former NBA star Steve Nash, Tremendous Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski and Olympic heptathlete Annie Kunz. However Sharapova’s position is extra concerned since she is strategically advising the corporate on design route and product creation, has joined the board of administrators and is working with the corporate to broaden the nascent ladies’s assortment.
Because the story goes, they met two years in the past when Sharapova and her mom have been strolling on Manhattan Seaside together with her new child son and observed Hope Schneider sporting a prototype of the Cruise ladies’s shoe Wolf & Shepherd was testing.
“As with a lot of my working relationships, I’m very focused on attending to know what persons are doing about their work-life steadiness — how they deal with the fashionable world, how they go about elevating youngsters and having a enterprise,” Sharapova stated of the couple, who’ve 5 youngsters. “I actually loved these early conversations and completely beloved the product that they have been creating.”
One factor led to a different they usually in the end determined to work collectively.
“We’ve at all times admired and had plenty of respect for a way Maria has pursued issues on and off the courtroom: as a mom, an entrepreneur, a businesswoman,” stated Justin Schneider. “So I feel there’s plenty of alternative to unearth these tales collectively.”
“Maria has a really acute eye and aesthetic that pushes the envelope and challenges us to consider make actually differentiated, snug and thrilling merchandise which are related to everybody in the present day,” Schneider stated.
Sharapova stated in her new position, she is going to draw on her expertise with Supergoop to “be useful with out being a direct model ambassador.” By investing her personal cash and serving on the board of Wolf & Shepherd, she believes, “there’s simply a lot extra weight and impression you may have.”
Already, Schneider stated, Sharapova has supplied some perception in board conferences about implement a profitable omnichannel technique because the direct-to-consumer model explores opening bodily shops and increasing its wholesale distribution.
She was additionally instrumental within the design of the Cruise assortment, a brand new line of sensible, informal footwear for women and men that launched in March, and a “heavy affect” in making the forthcoming Ace shoe, scheduled to be launched in July, extra refined.
“If I’m sporting a sublime Dior go well with and I’m not within the temper for a stiletto, that is the shoe I gravitate towards,” she stated of the Ace. “And I feel that actually speaks to our each day life in the present day. Every little thing ought to be snug and stylish, which elevates our confidence.”
Past the Ace, there’s extra within the pipeline, they stated, significantly in the case of ladies’s. “I simply thought there was an enormous alternative in that house,” Sharapova stated.
“We launched Cruise with the concept that we’re going to create a flexible, elevated product line that each women and men can purchase,” Schneider stated. “And now we have plenty of thrilling types and silhouettes they’re going to proceed to cascade off this line later this yr.”
As Wolf & Shepherd continues to broaden, is attire one thing the workforce would think about sooner or later? Nicely, not proper now.
“Sluggish and regular,” Sharapova stated. “Hope and Justin have huge objectives and goals, however sooner or later at a time.”
Schneider added: “Our ambitions are huge. And that definitely implies that when it’s the fitting time, and when now we have these indicators that inform us that that is the place we should be, then we’ll definitely go there. However proper now it’s males’s and ladies’s footwear and equipment.”
Past Wolf & Shepherd, Sharapova stated she’s additionally engaged on a wellness mission that may come out this fall.