Allbirds store

The Allbirds retail store in Manhattan's Soho district. Source: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA.

Jana Matthews

The six secrets that turned Allbirds into a successful, and sustainable, company

Jana Matthews
5 minute Read

On November 3, 2021, footwear company Allbirds listed on the NASDAQ exchange and hit a US$4 billion ($5.5 billion) market cap — just 60 months after being founded. The company’s share price surged 93% on its first day and since then has settled between 45% and 66% over its listing price, making it one of the most successful startup listings of recent times. 

Allbirds’ story is all the more noteworthy given its commitment to sustainability and how the business puts planet right beside profit. It’s also a company I have a personal connection to; my stepdaughter Lisa was employee #13 at Allbirds and still helps lead product development for the company. 

So what are the secrets to success for this New Zealand business that has put its best foot forward on the global stage?

Secret 1: Test the concept early on with customers and be guided by their response

Kiwi professional soccer player Tim Brown had captained his national team, and over the course of his career had received many shoes to “test”, finding many of them cheaply made of plastic and surprisingly uncomfortable. When he retired from sport in 2012, he began thinking seriously about making a logo-less, understated, uber comfortable shoe from sustainably harvested, New Zealand merino wool. 

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