Sneaker brand Pastry thrives under new ownership in Cobb

·3 min read

Jul. 14—Dance shoe brand, Pastry, has been on the rise after Acworth-based Eric McCrite Company took over its licensing in 2020. Between strategic partnerships and vigorous marketing and ad campaigns, Pastry's brand awareness has catapulted quickly, Vice President Graydon McCrite said.

The Eric McCrite Company has been involved with sporting goods for more than 40 years, so they're no stranger to representing and distributing sports brands. Pastry is no exception. When the Eric McCrite Company acquired Pastry in 2020, it was struggling, McCrite said. Although the shoes have been used in the dance and cheer industry for years, sporting goods were not the primary concern during COVID-19, he said.

Now, as COVID-19 restrictions ease and sports return in full force, McCrite said Pastry's website traffic and sales are increasing. The Acworth company is capitalizing on the invigorated market with more creative marketing tactics.

"People are loving the brand and the perception of it is awesome ... we're just excited to get back to or even higher than it was ever before," he said.

Through a mix of new products and styles, big partnerships, heavy social media campaigns and an ambassador program, the Eric McCrite Company is growing Pastry to new levels.

Pastry's success with partnerships is one factor leading to its rising brand awareness. So far, Pastry is the official sneaker of Star Dance Alliance, one of the biggest dance competitions in the world. It has partnered with Steven Tyler's Janie's Fund, an organization supporting girls and young women who have experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect, and it partnered with "Karma's World," a Netflix show founded by Ludacris and his daughter, McCrite said.

"I think all those things combined just builds the brand's awareness to grow it further," McCrite said.

They launched an ambassador program as well, which McCrite said has received hundreds of applications from professional dancers to kids on stage. The program won't accept everyone, but they're working to accommodate as many as they can through different tiers: Pro Ambassadors, Premier Ambassadors and Crew Ambassadors.

"Pastry is designed for dancers by dancers," McCrite said. "We use a lot of focus groups and dance design concepts to create the shoes and develop new ones and colors."

He said the shoes have features that allow for dancing like ankle support, spin pads and blocking for sliding. Along with the practical features, the shoes have unique patterns, styles and designs. There are military combat boot styles, glitter designs and lightweight trainers for practice. Additionally, Pastry's is working to move into bigger stores like Macy's, Shoe Carnival, DSW and more.

"Because we have those unique properties to our footwear, it's perfect for dance, and made for it," McCrite said. "So that's what gives us an edge and that's what gives it its uniqueness and necessity in the dance industry."

Pastry has expanded beyond footwear. They've added accessories like scrunchies and hair bows and gym apparel to its product line, and they hope to add more practice clothing going forward.

"We have some products that will hopefully come out and revolutionize the dance footwear sector and industry, and we're excited about that," McCrite said.

Pastry has grown very fast compared to its history, McCrite said.

"People in the industry are loving it and so happy to see it come back from COVID," McCrite said. "They're excited for the new leadership as well and seeing all the new stuff coming, and I think it's gonna be a lot of fun."