Alexa Buckley won’t be joining the ranks of Mark Zuckerberg or Matt Damon. After all, she neglected the path of these Harvard dropouts and actually graduated from the school.
However, Buckley turned down a corporate position just a few days after commencement and began to work on the shoe company Margaux with co-founder Sarah Pierson, which Buckley discussed on the 36th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.
“We called our respective employers and let them know that we had kind of fallen into this idea,” she said. “We moved to New York together and dove head first into building out the idea and the team to bring it all together.”
Recognizing how impractical women’s footwear is for shoppers on-the-go, Buckley said she and Pierson wanted to get rid of the “shoe shuffle” that many women deal with everyday. Going from the morning commute to navigating the workplace to getting drinks with friends, Buckley noticed an opportunity to make an impact.
“We design every show that we make with comfort at the forefront, ”she said. “There’s a really interesting tension in footwear, for women particularly. It’s sort of comfort at the expense of design or design at the expense of comfort. We believe they’re not mutually exclusive.”
That’s where one of the most successful innovations at Margaux comes into the picture.
Buckley said that her company’s made-to-measure shoes tackle an issue of fit that has become commonplace in women’s footwear. According to Buckley, 88 percent of women wear the wrong size shoe and many of these consumers could be accommodated with off-the-shelf wide, medium and narrow width footwear.
“The biggest surprise for us at launch was realizing that the issue of fit in footwear is huge and we have a real opportunity to take it on,” she said. “The beauty of it is that once you have your measurements on file, they’re saved forever and you can come back and reorder, which results in wonderfully loyal customers.”
Working with a factory in Spain, Buckley said that Margaux is able to create made-to-order shoes for customers that address different fit requirements. Buckley said that operating a company on the international level has not been without challenges.
“We were really interested in producing everything in the United States, but we quickly learned that there is a true art to footwear. There’s sort of hands and sculpting [techniques] that exist in different parts of the world,” she said. “We wanted to go where the experts were.”
Buckley said that taking advantage of digital resources has allowed her company to bridge the international divide with their manufacture and create an effective online marketplace. But creating new and exciting silhouettes that don’t compromise on fit is still the focus at Margaux.
“We have seen and learned more about feet than most people will in a lifetime,” she said. “There are little fit hacks that I’ve become so used too, but they continue to surprise customers when we show them.”