Dear Cristina, why wooden shoes?
I had my "Holzklapperl" - wooden clogs as a child - the unique feeling of wearing them has never quite left me. In 2004, I decided to develop a chic, lightweight and salon-worthy version of them: Our SOFTCLOX, the shoes with flexible wooden soles.
Who had the idea for the clou with the flexible sole?
I developed the idea together with a shoe designer friend and an Austrian shoe manufacturer for traditional shoes. With a lot of passion and shoe know-how, we laid the foundation for the SOFTCLOX shoe brand.
Your company SOFTCLOX was established in 2006, almost at the same time as the birth of your daughter. How did it work out as a new mum to start up?
With my company and my daughter, two "children" came into the world at once, so to speak. It was stressful in the beginning, but luckily I had a great network of friends and family by my side who supported me where they could.
Your first step on the way to your own label?
The most important thing for me was to find reliable and competent partners right from the start who wanted to go this new way out of conviction with me.
What did you learn from building your shoe brand SOFTCLOX? What were you not prepared for?
I learned to listen and trust my gut feeling when making business decisions! After a good start, I was surprised to have to do some persuasive work so that the retailer trade doesn't perceive us as a current, fashionable short-lived phenomenon in the industry.
Do you design all your shoe models yourself?
The design is teamwork in all collections. Many different ideas, colours and shapes flow into the design. As a manufacturer, we want to make as many women as possible happy with SOFTCLOX. In the end, together with my head of design Andreas Klautzsch and my production partner Thomas Huber, I have to agree on a selection for the new collection.
What inspires you?
I am a real fashion extractor! I look everywhere for exciting themes and materials, shake it well in my head and filter it for usable elements for my brand SOFTCLOX.
How many new models are there per year?
In summer we develop around 150 new, fashionable variants, in autumn and winter there are another 80.
How big is your team?
In the Munich office we are 10 and in the production facility of our partner manufacturer there are around 100 more employees.
Are there any mothers among them?
Many even! I am a big fan of my team. The mothers are all well organized, do a great service for our customers, are battle tested and go to work with sovereignty - SOFTCLOX can only profit from that.
What significance does social media have for your company?
Social media is very important for us, and the trend is increasing. We are mainly active on Facebook, also internationally, and have been using Instagram since 2016. For a few years now, we have been working more with influencers, whom we see as ambassadors for our unique shoes. Nowadays, inspiration takes place online. SOFTCLOX lovers can now find new, surprising and useful things here on our own blog.
Would you start a company today? Which tip can you give?
I would start up again at any time! If you're passionate about your idea, you should get started - immediately. Get partners on board as soon as possible - you don't have to be able to do everything on your own.
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