With over 15 years of marketing and sales experience in the footwear industry, Cushla Reed eventually launched out into her own label to became the minx behind Minx. The designer footwear brand is highly coveted in her native New Zealand and are quickly walking their way into stylish women’s wardrobes globally. On the back of Minx, Cushla was a finalist in the prestigious Wellington Gold awards for business excellence, and become the first female and youngest person to uphold the current presidency of the NZ Footwear Association.
We spoke to Cushla recently to discuss her design process behind-the-scenes at Minx HQ; how she has overcome the challenges facing retail and online; tips for a successful footwear brand; and what her predictions are for popular shoe trends in 2012.
Tell us about the design process behind the scenes, how does the label conceive from initial inspiration to final concept instore?
Lots of retailer feedback plus we have 6 stores of our own of which we gather direct consumer feedback – often this is the basis for good design ie. Heel height preferences, colour/materials. Like most designers I monitor trends off shore and locally and adapt that with our own brand and consumer in mind. It needs to be ‘Minx’ quirky yet commercial with comfort.
How has Minx overcome the challenges facing retail and the introduction of online shopping?
We have a huge amount of brand loyalty from our consumers and they are happy to support their local retailer so at this stage we have avoided the ‘online’ epidemic. In saying that I believe that retailers equally that have bricks and mortar stores do need to support their stores with more consumer focused events ie. Stepping outside their stores a little more.
Can you offer any tips on what has worked for your business? How you have created a successful fashion footwear brand?
Years of listening, taking every opportunity to support the retailer through product nights, designing be spoke Point of sale products and communicating with the consumer through our active web database and facebook page
What is your marketing mix for reaching the consumer?
We have an active facebook page and web based database – so every event we are involved with or media coverage we get we fire that info. Back out to retailers and consumers through these mediums.
How do you establish loyalty in sales?
Foremost; for the consumer – great product, product with margin for the retailers and keeping in touch in a friendly way
Do you follow trends at Minx or stick to your own style rules?
Minx is distinctive in design and is an interpretation of trends – I have rules on heel heights, fits and materials
What is in store for Minx in 2012 and the future?
Number two baby on the way so very busy lining my team up to maintain and grow the business. Minx has expanded in its stores into other accessories ie. bags, jewellery and scarves – this is something longterm I would like to develop to offer my retailers as part of the total collection and Minx image. Will see how much more I can fit in a day.
What are your top three footwear trends for A/W 2012?
a. Hand woven leathers – they pay homage to the ‘craft’ of leather work and the raw aesthetic of genuine leather – Style: Woven dreams
b. Revival thanks in part to Kate Middleton of the ‘court’ style shoe with a twist – these are great with the new must have fashion accessory shoe clips – Style: High Spirit
c. Boot leg lengths are getting lower to the ankles, cropped and mid / low calf lengths – Style: Smash Bang
What are your inspirations for the season?
The old British closet, Moth eaten valvet drapes and Armour – Style: Studio York, Hot Armour
The new cow girl has gone from Texan/Mexican to the more sophistication slimline Italian. N/B The floral printed sheepskin, super cosy for winter – Style: Cush’s Pedro
What will I be wearing this season from Minx and from Cushla Reed?
The Morley Mod boot – it’s a 3 in 1 boot, can be worn 3 differing ways – great value really – Style: Morley Mod
Zambesi – Am now 20 weeks pregnant and looking for comfort this boot can be worn with anything – Style: Zambesi
What style do you predict will be your bestseller this season?
Miss Ashworth – it’s already been selling out with retailers, It’s a hint of Kate Middleton in suede. You can pop the new shoe clip accessories on to completely take them from day time to evening.
What are the new innovations for the season?
Personality for your shoes. Removeable Stirups, shoe clips, 3 in 1 boots – Style: Bystander, Studio York, clips.