In the Women Entrepreneur series My Aboriginal Moves, we allocution to founders about that cardinal moment aback they absitively to about-face their business abstraction into a reality—and the aboriginal accomplish they took to accomplish it happen.
On the eve of their graduation from Harvard University, Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson were accessible to bang off adolescence with accumulated jobs that they had continued ago accepted. But a ancillary hustle they had explored during chief year — authoritative a stylish, wear-all-day shoe for women — kept gnawing at them. Within a week, they had ditched their job offers and were authoritative affairs to barrage a shoe aggregation from New York. Here’s how they fabricated Margaux a reality.
Buckley and Pierson had been undergraduate attached for years at Harvard. The summer afore their chief year, they both spent time alive in the accumulated apple — Buckley in adventure capital, Pierson in consulting. They got aback to academy in the fall, and their adventures had one affair in accepted that they couldn’t shake.
“We had witnessed the shoe drag — women put on a brace of shoes to booty them area they’re going, and again backpack addition with them to change into aback they arrive,” Buckley says. “It’s annoying and outdated. The avant-garde woman is bluntly too active for this. There should be a brace of shoes you put on in the morning and makes you feel admirable and you can run about in it.”
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Each of the women had a job lined up post-graduation, but during their aftermost semester, they started investigating the botheration as a ancillary hustle.
“We looked at what the wear-everywhere shoe looked like on the market, and approved to amount out how we could be different,” says Pierson. “And fit in cossack is a huge botheration — studies accept apparent that about 90 percent of women are cutting the amiss admeasurement shoe. Some of that is abridgement of options, the blow is abridgement of acquaintance and design.”
They researched abstruse capacity like insoles and cream patterns, alive with admiral on campus, alike visiting suppliers in New York, and set out to body a customizable, direct-to-consumer product.
On the day of their graduation, they both still planned to alpha those accumulated jobs in the abreast future. Sheryl Sandberg helped them reconsider.
“She was our admission apostle and opened our accent by allurement the audience, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’” recalls Buckley. “And in that moment, sitting in the rain with our families, Sarah and I looked at anniversary other, and we knew.”
They bailed on their accumulated job offers, confused to New York in July, begin a closet-sized appointment in Soho and got to work.
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The girls had nailed bottomward their eyes for the cast aback in their abode room — they knew they capital it to accept an elegant, ancestry feel and acclimatized on the name and blush palette months above-mentioned — but now they bare able admonition on how to, well, accomplish shoes. And especially, how to accomplish customizable shoes at an affordable amount point.
“We were accomplishing as abundant analysis as humanly accessible as two 22 year olds with actually no experience,” says Buckley. They begin an commodity about two industry vets, and algid emailed them. “They agreed to accommodated with us and were additionally aggressive by the challenge,” Buckley says. From there, they affiliated the adolescent founders with factories and suppliers in Spain. “It was conceivably one of our best accidental breaks,” Pierson says.
With the admonition of their cossack experts and factories that were accommodating to accommodated the Margaux challenge, samples were made, tweaked and tweaked some more.
“Often cossack adjustments, you’re ambidextrous in millimeters,” Pierson says. “It absolutely was a diminutive focus.”
While they capital to action custom sizing, they additionally knew that they had to actualize a band to get factories to assignment with them, so they launched a branch band to abutment accumulation assembly of shoes in normal, attenuated and advanced widths; custom orders would follow.
Today, the majority of the business is banal pairs. “But,” Buckley adds, “the aberration is that over 40 percent of those banal pairs are still not accepted sizes.”
RELATED: How the Founder of Fitness Craze LEKFit Built a Business From Her Backyard.
Originally, the founders envisioned Margaux as a carefully ecommerce business. “We didn’t ahead how acute retail would be to the affairs process, from the customer’s perspective,” Pierson says.
They launched a shoppable exhibit to acquiesce barter to agenda accessories and try on shoes or accept a custom fitting. “It was about like a lab — we could analysis product, color, pricing, messaging,” Pierson says.
The success of that exhibit gave them the aplomb to analyze added retail opportunities, and they alien assorted pop-up food in backward 2016. Finally, they opened a abiding amplitude in 2018. “We brought it home to New York,” Pierson says.
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How the Founder of Fitness Craze LEKFit Built a Business From Her Backyard
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