If you’re anything like most women on the sidewalks today, you know the struggle is real when it comes to perfectly fitted shoes. Having one foot bigger than the other is common, we get it! In fact, it’s so common that two best friends got together and launched Margaux to make sure that both of your feet “fit” in.
Founders, Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson met during freshman year at Harvard University. 2014 graduates with backgrounds in History, they both decided to ditch their consulting job offers for a riskier path, the startup life. Alexa reminisces, “Sarah and I became roommates in sophomore year. We spent a lot of time together dreaming up big ideas which eventually led us to walk away from those job offers.”
Alexa and Sarah started with the concept first and then developed the product. Initially, they were thinking about diving into leather handbags to craft the perfect bag, but eventually realized the gap and opportunity in the footwear category. “We wanted to construct something for the modern woman at a very high level. We wanted something that felt timeless, but yet empowering. So we took a step back to look at the staples in a woman’s wardrobe and arrived at the ballet flat as this perfect holding piece in her closet.” Understanding and honoring that most women have asymmetrical feet, Margaux’s shoes are customized to fit and made to order.
How It Works
Margaux launched via vogue.com in May 2015 and mainly sells through their website as well as pop-ups around the country in places such as San Fran, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, The Hamptons and Texas. Customers are encouraged to measure their feet using the Margaux sizing tool kit and upload their data to their online profile. They can also schedule an appointment with a Margaux Fitting Specialist to drop by their homes for a proper fitting if you like to get fancy like that.
The pop-ups have proven to be very successful for Margaux as it is a “wonderful way for people to see the colors in person because they really come to life as does the quality. We find it so important to have face time with our customers. The pop-ups also help encourage customers to create an online profile to which everything is saved so it increases the loyalty rate and likelihood to purchase again.”
Why The Name
“We fell in love with the name because we felt it described our modern woman. It sounded elegant, elevated and timeless with a modern edge. We also loved the aesthetics of the “M” and “X” and ended up turning that into our logo. The letters felt bold, strong and classy. We didn’t want to name it after ourselves because we wanted it to be an identity that any woman could identify with or feel some companionship with. We really wanted the customer to take ownership of the brand.”
“We learnt to keep banging on doors until someone would give us a Yes.”
Margaux imports its leather from Spain and Italy and assembles the product in New York. As a result, they are able to have better quality control and ship their customized product at a faster rate, making them agile. After much competition from Looney Tunes character, Speedy Gonzales, the ladies came out first as it takes roughly two weeks from order to delivery.
“A lot of people told us to not even try visiting factories as they were not going to rework their system for our tiny orders.” However, these determined ladies were able to prove most people wrong. “This was at a moment when a lot of direct to consumer brands were taking off so we understood the value of the digital experience that allowed brands to unlock huge amounts of value for their customers at much better price points.” Fun fact: Sarah is a night owl, while Alexa is a morning bird. Between these two, the company is always in operating mode.
- You have an idea, start hashing out the business plan and target market first, then focus on the product. It is important to find a gap in the market.
- Cold email, research and find experts in the field that can help you with production and sourcing.
- You don’t need to be an expert in what you want to do.
- Divide and conquer. If you are a team of two, have someone manage operations, finance and production while the other manages the external side such as marketing and PR.
- The fashion industry is a crowded market. Develop a special function or design that makes you stand out and have a value proposition.
- Create a tactile experience, especially in the footwear industry.
- Never take No for an answer, unless it’s coming from your mother.
Interested in customizing your own shoe while feeling like royalty? Priced at $185 for standard fit and $215 for made to measure. Shop here or visit the Margaux showroom to schedule your fitting. Feeling gregarious and want to say hi to the founders? Email us and we will be more than happy to connect you.
Photo courtesy of Bridget Badore.