What part of your business has given you the greatest sense of achievement?
It's been amazing to bring ‘like minds’ together. Mothers and Daughters, customers of all ages - sharing the desire to be individual, original and buy into timeless objects.
How does that align with what you expected?
Pretty closely actually. I never wanted to target an age group. My designs are about being confident, individual and being honestly you. Not what someone tells you, you should be.
What was your definition of success, have you achieved it and/or has your definition changed?
It's a moving target. Sometimes its a design that I am particularly happy with that gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Or maybe its a message from a customer saying that they wore my shoes at a very special, personal event. There are so many definitions of success that are aligned with a business that is run by passion. I am a designer foremost and the object and connections with people are big keys to success.
It feels like your customers are creative and independent thinkers. How did you find your tribe, or did they find you?
I think it's quite instinctual to find your tribe. We don’t do any advertising so they most definitely found us. And we stick together -we are like a family in many ways.
How does that align with the route to market that you imagined would work best?
When I began the company there was something called ‘alternative’. Older people were very different to younger people - a bit us and them. Rebellion was rampant - Margiela (before it was bought out), The Belgian Five and Japanese fashion was all forefront. The route to market was second nature and individualism was about challenging the norm, not literally about the sole individual.
You’ve had some exciting collaborations with artists, filmmakers and galleries. What do you look for in a brand collaborator? Is it a case of opposites attracting or a meeting of minds?
All of our collaborators have been people that I like their work and respect how they work. My work is my passion and although I have a ‘company brand’ it is also very personal.
How have you established a dialogue with new customers who buy from third parties (either department store or e- retailers) who have not had the personal in-store or even ichat experience that is so key to your brand?
My footwear looks different from the start. Buyers know this whether they are a 3rd party buyer or a direct individual. I think this is the first point of unspoken discussion. However, it is difficult when you can’t control the descriptions or the photography. Owning your own online and retail business does give us ultimate control over most aspects.
The brand embodies your design vision, values and ways of working which gives it a powerful identity. Can you see a time when other people are designing for the brand?
I recently watched a video where Alexander McQueen told the interviewer that there is no way his house could continue without him. So on that basis, I like to not reply :-)
What is the most important part of the brand that you pass on to your staff to help them carry out your vision?
Truth and honesty. There isn’t anything we don’t do with integrity and that has the most appeal and longevity.
Is there a channel of communicating that has been particularly successful for the brand?
Newsletters where we can talk direct to the customer is a great way to communicate each and every model. The website as well - pictures are really worth a thousand words.