Caroline de Baëre is a fashion industry veteran with leadership experience ranging from strategic product development and merchandising through planning, material development and sourcing and cost negotiation. Her broad range of expertise and years with multiple brands enables her to plan and develop compelling products consistent with current market trends while achieving precise business strategies and objectives.
Caroline extensive experience in her field has resulted in providing expert services in the footwear industry, drafting expert reports, providing successful outcomes in trial and deposition testimony, as well as working with attorneys on design patent, utility patent, trademark and trade dress litigation cases.
Late 2018 Caroline co-founded a women’s fashion footwear brand, the BENDY by Ashbury Skies, manufactured in her home state of California. This new collection focuses on ethically manufactured and sustainable sourcing practices.
Caroline recently took on a faculty role at California College of the Arts as a Footwear design instructor to 3rd & 4th year Fashion and Industrial design University students at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Teaching all aspects of footwear design through research, from initial inspiration, seasonal theme and mood boards through design, development, merchandising and finally, creating physical 3D models of their design collections. Additionally, instructing students on understanding how Intellectual Property impacts their original concepts.
Caroline’s career includes 15 years in the corporate arena. In 1986 she joined Esprit’s Footwear Production area. She moved into design with Esprit in 1989 as assistant to the Design Director, simultaneously studying at San Francisco’s Academy of Art. In 1992, Caroline began tenure as Director of Product Development for LA Gear leading the product development team through several years of consistent growth. Three years later, she became Director of Product Development for Ariat International where she spent 5 years developing multiple Western and English footwear product collections as well as accessories for Men and Women and managing freelance designers. Caroline also initiated and implemented product tracking systems. In 2013 Caroline took on the role of Vice President with a start-up to manage strategic planning, product implementation, sales management and merchandising for the brand’s global launch.
As founder of Laforma, Caroline spent 17 years as a strategic product consultant developing long-term relationships with fashion industry leaders by offering customized product services for Men, Women and Children. She has worked with multiple brands to analyze business, identify marketplace strategies and lead the implementation of original concepts and product through design, development and sourcing to take full advantage of critical business opportunities.
Caroline is able to manage a team while developing margin building collections that capture and increase market share. She is an expert at calendar adherence and sku management. Her approach offers a unique combination of creative management skills and strategic business acumen. These qualities, along with her relationship and team-building skills are reasons brands often work with Caroline season after season.