Dallas-based Hari Mari hires former Billy Reid CEO to expand the flip flop brand into apparel

Hari Mari said Wednesday that Billy Reid co-founder and former CEO Jake Szczepanski will become president of the fast-growing Dallas-based flip-flop startup that plans to expand into apparel this spring.

Szczepanski has been on the board of Hari Mari for three years and is moving to the management team “to drive the brand’s further growth,” said the company.

Jake Szczepanski was named President of Hari Mari in Dallas on January 12, 2021.(Let’s day)

Jeremy Stewart, co-founder of Hari Mari, said Szczepanski’s “consumer product lifespan and branding know-how” will help the company move into the lifestyle and apparel categories.

“Given the significant growth Hari Mari has seen over the past few years, we look forward to adding Jake’s seasoned voice and leadership to our management team to drive the next chapter of growth,” said Stewart, who joined the company in 2012 with his wife founded, Lila Stewart. Hari Mari did not announce annual sales. The flip flops are sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, West Marine, Zappos, Whole Earth Provision Co., and Saint Bernard.

Szczepanski joins Hari Mari from upscale men’s and women’s clothing brand Billy Reid, where he was co-founder and CEO of the Florence, Alabama-based company. He worked with designer Billy Reid for 13 years to build the brand, which operates 14 stores, including one in the NorthPark Center in Dallas and in upscale shopping areas in major cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, DC

“I believe that the Hari Mari brand, together with a highly talented management team, has created a foundation and strategy for lasting success. With the footwear and fashion industries evolving in these unprecedented times, Hari Mari is uniquely positioned and ready for accelerated growth, ”said Szczepanski.

He added that the brand had momentum and could develop from a “premium flip-flop manufacturer at its core into a brilliant premium lifestyle label” in the coming months and years.

Greg Kelley married high school sweetheart Gaebri earlier this year after being exonerated for child sexual abuse.  He is now the face of the new boot collection from Hari Mari from Dallas.

Szczepanski comes from a local retail family. His father, Gerald Szczepanski, was the founder of Gadzooks, which was based in Carrollton and operated 243 teenage apparel malls when it was sold out of bankruptcy to Forever 21 in 2005. This acquisition doubled the size of Forever 21.

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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