Above, two previously unseen stock photos of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in grey/red for men and grey/bright green for women!
05.06.10 - The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out!
The CEO of Vibram USA Tony Post published a note on facebook yesterday concerning "Product Availability, the Bikila, and What's Next." Good stuff from the super nice You may recall meeting Mr. Post last summer when he gave an impromptu interview at Vibram HQ to Raw Food World.
Anyway, go read Tony's message, or just check the highlights:
On the Availability of Vibram Five Fingers
- Vibram does not constrain supply to create more demand! (Contrary to some speculation!)
- Vibram has recently opened two new Five Fingers factories; what more, two more are in the works.
- Vibram is now flying new inventory from China to speed delivery (rather than shipping it by boat I assume)
- Five Fingers are restocked to retailers first, then at Vibram's own webshop. This is why it's a rare day you'll find product available at vibramfivefingers.com in stock (Hopefully, having a virtual storefront that lists major online retailers of Five Fingers will help VFFers find their shoes)
On the massive Growth of the Five Fingers line
Tony writes, "As we close the first quarter of 2010, we will have shipped 6X as much product as we did last year at this time (which, by the way, was 3X more than the year before). For Q2 we are set up to receive and ship nearly 10X as much product as we did last year."
Let's do the math: So way back in Q1 2008, if Vibram shipped 10,000 pairs of VFFs (this is just a number pulled out of thin air), that was 30,000 pairs in Q1 2009, and 180,000 pairs in Q1 2010.
That's 1800% growth in two years! Meanwhile, if I'm reading this right, in Q2 2010 alone they're going to ship 10X as many VFFs as in all of 2009! That is a lot of Vibram Five Fingers!
On the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila
I've gone on the record as guessing the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila would be here by mid-April. Tony Post says, "Look for the new Bikila to start hitting the first stores in late April."
I'm an optimist, so I'm still hoping for mid-April in some stores, but now it's just a matter of wait and see.
As for initial demand, apparently Vibram is flying over the first 25,000 pairs of Bikila. Bank on them disappearing off of shelves everywhere almost immediately.
Update on the women's KSO Trek Five Fingers!
After a clamor of support from VFF fans, Vibram greenlighted production of the Five Fingers KSO Trek for women.
Though the goal on the KSO Trek for women and small-footed men was late March, looks like women's KSO Treks won't be available until May.
I passed this billboard on I-75 North of Gainesville last week and finally got a picture today. I may call this place and ask about when they will get the Bikilas.
Update on the women's Five Fingers Performa Jane
It's been a bit quiet on the Sprint-meets-Performa VFF Performa Jane, which was first mentioned here way back in early October, but apparently, the svelte kangaroo leather, indoor-only Mary Jane of the Vibram line will be available next month — I probably will not be testing it!
So what do we take from all of this?
Tony Post's post was jam-packed full of information for the VFF fan community. It is mind-boggling to hear some basic quantification of the growth in the Vibram Five Fingers line, and as production has been massively scaled up, a few fans have been concerned about quality control. I can't imagine the logistical, supply chain quandary that is scaling your business 2000% in two years.
Suffice to say there are a lot more free feet out there — the Five Fingers Facebook fan page has 36K fans! Five Fingers just may be going mainstream. Indeed, one new retailer has put up a highway billboard near Gainesville, Florida.
The excitement and buzz around Vibram Five Fingers grows — there's a lot going on. What say the community?