Shine Advertising Lights a Birthday Candle for Umi Children's Shoes

Madison, WI, September 27, 2006 --( Two years ago, from the ashes of Elefanten—then the #1 European brand of children’s shoes in the U.S.—a new brand was born. Umi Children’s Shoes.

The new company was launched by Mark Kohlenberg, former president of Elefanten USA, who announced the brand’s inception after parent company Clarks closed Elefanten worldwide due to European profitability issues.

“From day one, our job at Umi was clear—gain market leadership as fast as possible,” said Mark Kohlenberg, president and founder of Umi. “The first call we made was to Shine. They immediately went to work building a comprehensive brand platform centered around the stylish sensibility of our target market— upscale moms.”

Shine, previously agency of record for Elefanten USA, was given the charge to create a comprehensive campaign to build a relationship with these moms at every point of contact — where they live, shop, and learn. The agency started with the company’s identity, crafting a foundation for the stylish new brand by creating the unique, memorable “Umi” name and wedding it with a bold red dot.

Next up was a national print advertising campaign, featuring emotionally arresting ads of children shown through the eyes of a mother. Headlines like “Perfect for Chasing Tigers, Not to Mention Little Girls,” and “Her First True Love Wasn’t a Little Boy,” ran in publications such as “Child” magazine. The Umi website by Shine,, showcases product and the captures the brand’s sense of whimsy. Other highlights of the launch campaign included bold packaging, shoe shelves, in-store materials, and even a PR placement in December 2005 on the “Today Show.”

“When it comes to building relationships with this style-conscious mom, you can’t fake it,” said Mike Kriefski, Shine co-founder and creative director. “From the product to the advertising to the website, good design is good design. It’s that simple.”

Most importantly, this emotional engagement has yielded results. In just two years, Umi is selling over half of what Elefanten sold during its peak sales volume year. This success has come not just from consumer buzz, but from very successful retailer commitments as well; Umi is available at Nordstrom nationwide, at key regional chains including Macy’s and Olly’s, at online sites such as and The Gap, Inc.’s new site (launching Oct. 16), and at hundreds of high-end specialty retailers across the country. In addition, the brand’s success has gone beyond U.S. borders, with rapidly growing Umi sales throughout Europe and Canada.

“You don’t have a great brand without a great product,” said Curt Hanke, Shine co-founder and account director. “Every pair of Umi’s is like a little piece of art. Our ability to develop a relationship based on that emotional transcendence was the cornerstone of our contribution to Umi’s success.”

Umi handcrafts children’s shoes designed with the perfect balance of comfort, fit and style. With a stated mission to make “moms, and their children, and their feet, happy,” Umi is dedicated to providing children with protective footwear environments that foster healthy development.

Shine Advertising Co., headquartered in Madison, Wis., helps build both up-and-coming and established brands such as Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Co., Peachtree Doors and Windows, Umi Children’s Shoes, Veridian Homes and Kaplan, Inc. A full-service, privately held firm, Shine is dedicated to building passion between people and brands and holds truth, honesty and integrity as its core values. Learn more at

Shine On.

Shine Advertising
Tracy Bliven