Meet the founder – LANX
Do you dream of starting a shoe brand, or have you already put the wheels in motion? I love helping people to start successful shoe companies, and I know how powerful it can be for my clients to hear from entrepreneurs who have been there, done that.
Marco Vaghetti contacted me last year, and we had some great discussions about his business. I’m impressed by his unique approach to the shoe trade, and the way he communicates his message.
Having interviewed the wonderful Emily Blake about her ballet pump brand Taylor Blake, I thought it would be interesting to hear a founder story from a menswear perspective.
Marco, please tell me about your brand, and why you started Lanx Shoes
I started LANX shoes after receiving letter on the 26 July 2016. The contents of the letter motivated me to create my own shoe company. Immediately after opening that letter I started developing my thoughts on what my shoes and brand would look like. However I quickly realised that designing and making footwear was ridiculously hard, so between September 2016 and March 2017 I travelled around Asia learning how shoes are made, where shoes are made, and picking up various industry secrets along the way (oh, and tasting local beer also).
Upon returning to the UK I started creating my own designs and developing the brand, fast forward to May 2018 and LANX officially launched.
What is the part of being a brand founder you love the most?
Meeting customers and seeing their reaction to the shoes and brand. We do 6 artisan markets every weekend, so we meet hundreds of customers every week. When customers approach our stall and they already know and are excited about our latest designs, or they’ve read the story behind the brand and want to know more it’s a very satisfying feeling.
What has been the hardest aspect of starting your own shoe brand?
Really difficult question. Nothing springs to mind immediately. I guess the whole tsunami of workload you have get through on your own. Actually, I’ve thought of something… convincing men that only buy 1 specific brand of shoe and in their own words “wouldn’t dream of trying on any other brand” that they should in-fact give LANX a go. However, when you convert them the feeling is rather special.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
The importance of shoe lasts! I knew choosing and testing shoe lasts was fairly important, but I wish I’d tested and researched more. We’ve had to modify a few of our lasts along the way.
Are there any areas you needed help with, which you struggled to find support for?
I guess PR & advertising. Spending ad budget wisely and not devoting time and energy to advertising which doesn’t work. I back myself creatively, I reckon I can make my brand look nice with quality photos and website etc, it’s just then getting the nice photos and website under the noses of our target market which is the hard part.
It’s natural for start-ups to see their launch as a sort of end point. What is the key to success after the excitement of the initial launch has subsided?
I certainly don’t have or know where the “key to success” is, wish I did! I’d imagine it’s a big thick and gold key, the kinda key that opens huge wooden doors built by vikings. Sorry got carried away there. After the excitement of the launch I’d say the most important advice I can give is… understand quickly that nobody knows or gives a sh1t about your brand and therefore there ain’t no money coming through the door (but more than likely a lot has and is going out of it). After the LANX launch do I sat infront on my computer for the 3 weeks waiting for sales to come in, I sold £0. So I jumped in a van my mate lent me and I started doing artisan markets.
Thank you for sharing your founder story and offering some excellent advice Marco.
To buy a pair of LANX shoes or follow their journey:
If you’re ready to receive support in achieving your shoe brand goals, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message when you’re ready to make your business dreams a reality. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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