While working for footwear giant Footlocker, Dave Prince realised there was a gap in the market for an online venture that delivered shoes to eager young consumers.
After teaming up with Mark Campbell, Shooii was born. Below, Prince tells us about the idea, his grapples with websites and suppliers and why he wishes the investment market in Australia was a little easier for start-ups.
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Can you explain a bit about the background of the founders?
I come from a footwear retailing background and have been in the business for close on 18 years. Most recently, I was with the Footlocker group – the world’s largest retailer of athletic footwear.
I have had a close association with product and buying disciplines. Mark Campbell joined a short time later, also from Footlocker.
He brings both product and planning experience but also brand marketing skills. So he’s a very valuable guy to have around in a start-up!
Where did the idea for Shooii come from?
About two years ago I started to witness a large number of consumers shopping on international eCommerce sites and my suspicion was that it was not just about the lure of different products being available from overseas sites, but also a broader change in consumer purchasing behaviour.
The footwear industry is worth $2.5 billion dollars a year in Australia and I figured there’s room for a youth-focused model within the competitive mix.
Shooii started to take shape with a notebook and a pen. I mapped out the business plan over a two-month period and then decided to leave my job to chase it full-time.
The business plan morphed into an investment document. I put together a board of experienced directors and listed Shooii on ASSOB to raise funding.
As the funding rolled in we hired one role at a time and that’s how we arrived at this point.
How have you differentiated yourself from the other shoe selling sites out there?
Our Shooii mantra is about being different at every juncture of our business. Our key differentiators are:
- The very best youth footwear brands from across the globe.
- An innovative platform with a bunch of new features and a strong focus on global best practice user experience.
- A unique delivery carton (you will have to order a pair to find out!)
- The shipping is on us and returns are always free, plus you have 365 days to return the product.
- And, most importantly, a relentless pursuit to deliver the very best customer experience.
The site looks pretty impressive – can you explain how you went about the process of building it?
Thanks. It was quite a task to build a site like Shooii, but we had some expert help on hand via the team at Josephmark.
The initial brief was to throw out conventional and build new features that would excite and engage consumers.
At each turn, we tried to “think different” and be innovative. We have tried to keep the site very clean and reduce noise where possible, allowing the product to be the focus.