by Stephen Garner

Ankari Floruss, the premium men’s footwear brand from menswear influencers Moti Ankari and Marcel Floruss, is expanding.

This fall, the brand is launching wholesale with seven Nordstrom store locations, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, and other leading doors.

Since starting their brand in 2016 after seeing a space in the market for a brand that could provide various shoes to carry them through each day of the week for an entire season, Ankari and Floruss have steadily been growing the brand’s presence online – something, as influencers comes naturally.

But as the duo marks their entry into the unknown world of wholesale, we wanted to catch up with them on how the transition has been from influencers to business owners, how the brand has evolved, and some of their biggest lessons learned along the way.

MR: How has the transition from influencer to business owner been for you guys?

Moti: It’s not much of a transition – I feel it’s more of an additional title. There is a misconception when it comes to influencers and are they business owners? As an influencer, and similar to Marcel, I actually act and operate as a business. We wear more than just one hat and I think that’s what makes what we do exciting. Prior to Ankari Floruss, we were wearing and promoting items that we like that were made by great brand and designers, and now with our brand, we can do the same, but say this is our product that we made. It’s exciting!

MR: What are your most popular styles?

Moti: The Wednesday Chelsea Boot and the Saturday Sneaker are definitely our most popular silhouettes, and we are confident our newly introduced split-toe boot will become a favorite.

MR: What are you most excited about for your new partnership with Nordstrom?

Moti: I’m most excited to finally have a place for our followers to try on our shoes and see them first hand. We look forward to capturing a new audience that may not be familiar with Marcel or I.

MR: How has the brand evolved since you founded it in 2016?

Marcel: As a company, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to consistently grow and learn how to scale our business. Aesthetically, our mantra is still the same: classic with a fashionable twist, so one wouldn’t expect too much of an evolution in the overall look of the product, other than refinements in fit and small details.

MR: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

Marcel: Overcoming the hurdle of shoe shopping online was a big one, knowing that many guys needed to touch, feel and most importantly wear a shoe not only to figure out their size but also to properly understand our quality and how great our value really is, at the price point we set for our shoes. Once on the feet, our guys love their shoes. Another challenge was balancing our original profession as content creators, quickly described as one-person-magazines, with founding a footwear brand, to still create objective content. Walking the line to stay authentic when talking about other shoe brands as an influencer while owning your brand was definitely tasking, but Moti and I managed by avoiding brands with similar aesthetics with our brand, or, which seems obvious, working with our competitors, especially in the same price category.

MR: Biggest lessons learned since starting the brand?

Marcel: You can’t do it by yourself. No matter how skilled you are, how hard-working, you need to find the right people that share your vision to make it become a reality. Knowing your strengths and weakness allows you to delegate to someone who might do a better job than you, and you can focus on what you’re good at — it might sound a bit cheesy, but we’re incredibly proud of our AF team.


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