Australian start-up Shoes of Prey has announced it will change its strategy and close all bricks and mortar channels and return to being a pure online retailer.
Once considered a darling of the online start-up world in Australia, it seems the company may have taken a slight setback with its plans to downsize. The label says it will return to its roots as pure online retailer, moving forward.
The company’s co-founder and chief creative officer, Jodie Fox, said the change in direction was a natural evolution for the business, according to the Australian Financial Review.
“The physical stores have been hugely important for us. But where we’re at now, as a brand … with all our ducks now aligned, the most profitable and biggest opportunity for Shoes of Prey right now is in pureplay online,” explained Fox.
“I’m incredibly proud of what our team has achieved in the past 12 months and we are excited to refocus our efforts as an online retailer, giving women exactly what they want, when they want it, around the world. Our goal is to play a key role in driving a movement towards far more sustainable and profitable ways of manufacturing global fashion.”
Shoes of Prey recently moved its operations to Santa Monica in California last year, and began testing out a physical store presence after it raised $15 million capital from investors, including Nordstrom and Blue Sky Funds, to fast track its US expansion.
The bricks and mortar channel provided consumers with the chance to touch and try out the quality of its merchandise up close, which is a natural progression for pureplay companies to consider. The physical store strategy was also in aid to reduce the brands dependence on sales leads via Facebook and Google advertising.
Shoes of Prey’s pursuit in the omnichannel space also included the build out of its own design studio at David Jones flagship store in Sydney, back in 2013, where customers could design their shoes on an iPad, pay in-store and have the finished product delivered to their door within a few weeks time.
“Omni-channel retail has been hugely important for our success to date and both Nordstrom and David Jones have been incredible partners, playing a vital role in validating and giving people trust and awareness about this wild idea we had in a living room seven years ago,” said Fox.
The label has since found that its real gains lies online, with physical retail operations accounting for 15 percent of its sales, whilst representing 25 percent of its cost base.
Fox has confirmed the company has no plans to seek any further capital. “The (cash) burn rates are in a healthy spot at the moment – we have actually got a pretty good runway in front of us and we don’t have any plans to raise more funding.”
Shoes of Prey was founded by Michael Fox, Mike Knapp and Jodie Fox in Sydney in 2009, and lets people design and order custom made shoes online, which are manufactured at a dedicated offshore factory in China, and shipped to the consumer within two weeks.
One of the most hyped and best funded start-ups in Australia, the brand has for long been considered a pioneer in customised fashion since its conception.
In recent years, the Aussie label has successfully secured backup from US venture capital firms Kholsa Ventures and Greycroft Partners, ASX-listed asset manager Blue Sky Funds, rich-list billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and Nordstrom as well.