Shoe retailer Shoes of Prey seemed like an Australian success story before it announced its sudden liquidation this week.
The business model was a relatively radical proposition when it first launched in 2009, allowing customers to fully customise shoes online before purchase and pioneering ethical off-shore manufacturing.
It was a vision that attracted investment from successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, including Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.
It all came crashing down on Monday however, with founders Michael and Jodie Fox and Mike Knapp admitting the model was flawed.
“We learnt the hard way that mass-market customers don’t want to create, they want to be inspired and shown what to wear,” Michael Fox wrote in a blog post detailing the decision.
Speaking to Your Money Live, Australian investor and entrepreneur, and RiverPitch mentor Steve Baxter said there were plenty of lessons for Australian businesses to take from the collapse.
“These post-mortems are really important,” Baxter said.
“There’s a lot to [the collapse], right down from the start, to the investment, to the pivot, to the retail focus,” he explained.
Having learned so much from their ten-year business journey, Baxter said it’s now important those who steered the Shoes of Prey ship remain in the world of business.
“Pioneers take the most arrows as the Americans say, and they blazed the path for others… their next business will be such a raging success.”
Watch Baxter’s full analysis above.
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