Footwear

Jodie Fox talks shoes and business

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In our mission to strengthen the footwear industry through collaboration and education, FASHION EXPOSED REVIVED caught up with Jodie Fox – voted one of the top 30 most influential women in Australian retail 2014 and co-founder and Chief Evangelist at ShoesOfPrey.com, bringing you an honest and insightful account into how to run a successful business. Starting just 4 years ago, Shoes of Prey, the world’s first website where women can design their own shoes, broke even at 2 months, hit multimillion dollar revenue in under 2 years and today is a global multimillion dollar enterprise.

Q & A with Jodie

What is your background and how did you get to where you are today?

I’m a banking and finance lawyer by trade, having studied International Business and Law at Griffith University. But I didn’t always dream of being a lawyer. Much the opposite. I spent my high school years on the stage dancing, acting and playing music. But when I came to choose a career I elected International Business and Law because I felt I didn’t know enough about how the world worked. After practicing law for about 3 years, I found my heart simply wasn’t in it. I was working with great people on great work – but it just didn’t make me happy. It was the moment that began my journey to the idea we have at Shoes of Prey today – your work should be life enhancing. So, I wrote a list of all the things that made me happy in life and looked for the profession that matched it. Initially I took this into advertising, before shifting on to begin Shoes of Prey.

The beginning of Shoes of Prey was very organic. I’d always liked shoes, but I never loved them because I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Either it wasn’t quite the right colour, there was an embellishment I didn’t like, not quite the right heel height… anyway, when I was travelling, in the same way that you find someone who will make a custom suit for you, I found someone with whom I could commission shoe designs. My shoe collection became really exciting, and my girlfriends asked me where I was getting my footwear. When I explained, they asked me to create shoes for them too. Concurrently, my two business partners Mike and Michael were at Google and becoming really excited about the opportunities in online retail. They just needed an idea. We all came together and Shoes of Prey was born.

What would you say was the biggest hurdle when starting your own retail business?

The personal side of starting a business has given me the toughest challenges. Not just the resilience that’s needed, but also the personal fortitude and conviction to stand by your ideas and take responsibility for them no matter the outcome. Also the ability to deal with the emotional experience of the journey in a way that affords enough clarity to make good decisions. There are a lot of techniques I have learnt/am still learning to deal with this.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you are not sure of what step to take next?

By talking with my co-founders Mike Knapp and Michael Fox. And in those moments there’s normally a feeling of vulnerability so I get by with having a really strong emotional support group of family and friends who feel like family.

Do you have any business secrets that you can share with our FASHION EXPOSED REVIVED retail buyers?

Measure every single piece of data you can get your hands on! Although, I am sure this is something buyers are truly obsessed with already.

What piece of advice would you give to young retailers who are looking to break into the Australian market?

It’s never that people stop buying; it’s that they are looking to spend their money on something that is more relevant to them. If you remember this and keep your customer at the heart of all you’re doing, you’ll be on a good path.

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