The Profit

Hipster cred alone couldn't save this trendy Brooklyn footwear company

Creativity almost killed this hip Brooklyn-based footwear company
Creativity almost killed this hip Brooklyn-based footwear company

It turns out you need more than hipster cred to successfully run a globally inspired shoe company in one of the trendiest parts of Brooklyn. That's a lesson Inkkas, a funky footwear maker featuring original textile designs from around the world, had to learn the hard way. A unique business with a multi-cultural look, Inkkas suffered from a CEO with unchecked creative control and no real financial background. After a visit from The Profit's Marcus Lemonis, however, the company's now back in the black thanks to a little focus, an executive shake-up and some necessary sole-searching.

Inspired by his frequent trips across the globe, Inkkas' then CEO, Dan Ben-Nun, would return to the states armed with ideas for new shoe designs he'd impulsively put into production. But even though his new creations were met with little success, he continued to pour the company's time and money into new products against the advice of his partners, older brother Dave and childhood best friend David. With no one to course correct, Inkkas began hemorrhaging funds due to lack of sales, an abundance of designs and expensive rent from the storefront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

When Marcus first arrived at Inkkas' retail outpost in 2015, he was struck by two glaring flaws: the bizarre setup, which he likened to a "trading floor of some stock exchanges behind some shoes," and the lack of inventory. Recognizing Inkkas' strength as a wholesaler, Marcus closed the storefront in Brooklyn, moved the company's headquarters to Manhattan and streamlined the product line to focus on four geographical locations.

Now, less than three years later, Inkkas continues to grow, pulling in the company's best numbers since its creation. Since the episode, Inkkas has been folded into Marcus' ML Fashion Group, which helps with marketing and social media, and has also had a website revamp to better feature its products. Brothers Dan and Dave, unable to handle the pace and direction of Marcus' oversight, have since departed the company, leaving day-to-day operations to David.

With new leadership and the full force of Marcus' fashion group supporting it, Inkkas is now poised for success in the global market that inspired its creation.