How Sara Caverley built $7 million shoe business Sol Sana

It's hard to believe there's any more room in the Australian footwear market.

But in four years, Sol Sana has managed to get a foothold in the market and even grow into global markets. The brand first landed in the wardrobes of women in 2013, after creative director and founder Sara Caverley identified a gap in the global footwear market for mid-priced pointed leather footwear.

Caverley designed a collection, partnered with small factories in India and China, and started with a small collection of about 30 styles in two colour variations.

David Jones was among the first big retailers to stock the brand, with smaller specialty retailers to follow.

Persistence pays off

Sol Sana chief executive Michael Shandler admits persistence pays off when trying to secure stockists.

"A lot of retailers are scared of the process, but the job of a buyer is to buy, so it's a matter of calling and following up until you get a meeting," Shandler says.

Attending trade shows has also been a key part of the growth strategy.

"We booked a trade show in Las Vegas, which helped us land new retail partners there, too," he says.

Prior to launching Sol Sana, Shandler and Caverley had been working as importers and distributors of women's fashion.

"Every time we built up someone else's brand, they'd take over the distribution. It was an expensive and frustrating cycle, so we were looking for a way to get into the market on our own terms," Shandler says. Read more

Nina Hendy - Brisbane Times - 6 Dec 2017

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