From store to store, the hunt for the perfect shoe usually feels like an expedition—daunting and nearly impossible. Shoes of Prey co-founder Jodie Fox couldn’t find shoes that she loved either. So, she started to make her own.
Traveling to different countries, Fox figured out the people and resources she needed to get the shoes that she wanted. It’s what she excitedly describes as the best thing to ever happen to her because it grew into so much more. Her friends were undoubtedly impressed with what she’d done and wanted in on this process. She started to make shoes for them, too, and what bloomed from there was an innovative company with a creative edge and a very smart strategy to deliver premier products to its customer base.
“I would have never thought to have turned the idea into a business had it not been from my two co-founders—Michael Fox and Mike Knapp,” says Fox. “Mike Knapp was a software engineer at Google at the time. Michael Fox had a ton of retail experience and was very good with operations and business. They really wanted to start an online business and just needed an idea, so the three of us came together and started Shoes of Prey.”
Creating custom shoes doesn’t have to be an unaffordable expense. Shoes of Prey does the all work for you, but for most businesses, making one pair of shoes at a time just wouldn’t be cost effective. Shoes of Prey found a way. Their strategic planning allows them to still source premium materials with top quality production without hiking prices so high that it would cause its customers to break the bank.
“We officially became vertically integrated in December of last year,” explains Anna Le, public relations manager at Shoes of Prey. “As of last year, we opened our own production facilities and now the vast majority of shoes are made in our studio. This is incredibly exciting because it means we are getting ever closer to owning the process end-to-end, from the storefront all the way back to the making of the shoes. All of the technicians at our production facility work only on Shoes of Prey”.
Although it began solely as a web-based retailer, Shoes of Prey began to open up physical locations so that its customers could try on shoes, feel fabrics, and ask specific questions to its trained specialists. Recently, the Australian-based company opened its sixth U.S. store at Nordstrom Oakbrook Center to a ton of awaiting customers.
Now, finding the perfect shoe doesn’t have to be such a chore. In fact, women from all over the globe have started to experience the joy of creating exactly what they want to wear. From fabulous flats for everyday wear to heels for special occasions, shoe starting prices range from $129 for a ballet flat to $199 for an ankle boot—the flexible, add-on pricing structure making it easier to get just what’s needed. Shoes run from sizes 2 1/2 to 15 and with a turnaround time of just about four weeks, which the team is currently working to reduce to just two, there’s literally something for everyone.
“People love it. It’s not just something that’s new, but it also fills a need,” adds Le. “I don’t think that we’re alone when we walk into a store and say It’s not in the right heel height or not in the right color.” Janie Bryant—the fashion wiz that transforms the actors of Mad Men since its premiere in 2007—is not only an ambassador for Shoes of Prey, but a designer for the brand. Bryant’s new 60s inspired collection is perfect for spring and ideal for fashionistas who are constantly on the move.
“I was really inspired by the late 60s. I love that period, but also, I love the incorporation of color-blocking, the graphics, the zebra, polka dot and stripes, so I really used black and white graphics with bold colors like canary yellow, kelly green, and red,” explains Bryant, while wearing a pair of fiery black, white, and yellow shoes from the collection. “The other part about the collection is that I really wanted to use stack heels and wedges. I wanted to wear my heels, feel really empowered, but also I want to be able to comfortably wear them all day.”
Because Shoes of Prey is so committed to staying on trend, its dedicated product team consistently comes out with new materials and styles. Now up to 200 different leathers and materials, there are also new styles in the works. Soon, the company will be adding open-toe flats to its design collection, right in time for warmer temps. Additionally, for the Windy [and also very frosty] City, Fox assures that boots will be in the production pipeline by fall.