Alexa started The Shoe Fairy in 2015 when she was competing in bikini competitions. Alexa noticed there were companies known in the industry for everything but.. the SHOES! And let us tell you one thing, Alexa LOVES shoes, a match made in heaven. After diving deep into this business, Alexa started learning more about her customer’s needs and wanted to become not only a one-stop-shop but a community. Alexa believes to have the best customers in the world and appreciates each and every person beyond words can explain. Which is also a reason why Shoe Fairy’s orders (still to this day) get a handwritten note. They have written thousands by now! That’s what sets Shoe Fairy apart from other shoe businesses. This is not just a business.
”This is a PASSION that blood, sweat, tears, and heart has been poured into. When you shop with the Shoe Fairy, you are supporting people that will support and love you right back.”
In 2015 I began to compete in bodybuilding competitions, in the bikini division. It was then that I really started developing self-discipline in a way like never before. I would listen to motivational speakers all throughout the day such as Eric Thomas and Greg Plitt. My view on life, myself and my career slowly began to change. I was tired of working a “normal” job that didn’t fulfill me. I knew I wanted to create my own company within the fitness space but I just didn’t know what.
One day, while scrolling on Instagram, the idea just hit me. I realized that every girl who competes in a bodybuilding show tags the companies that she uses. For example, the bikini, hair, tan, makeup, jewelry, etc. At that time, there was no one known for shoes on Instagram (yet). That’s where the idea was born, from my cubicle as my last “job”. I saw the need and wanted to be the one to fill it, so I did!
Tell us more about The Shoe Fairy, who are your clients, what are they looking for?
The Shoe Fairy is the leading name in competition footwear and accessories! We are predominantly in the bodybuilding industry. For this sport, females must wear a specific clear heel on stage along with stage jewelry. The Shoe Fairy sells a wide variety of clear heels, comfy slides, stage jewelry and other accessories to accompany competitors on their show day.
How did you start The Shoe Fairy?
The Shoe Fairy started as a wild idea that popped into my mind while I happened to be sitting in my cubicle at my old job. I not only wanted to sell the shoes that my customer needs to wear but I also wanted to design them with Swarovksi crystals to match the bikinis worn on stage. I wanted to be sure my business would really stand out in order to gain traction. So once I had this idea I thought to myself – “Can I even design shoes?” So I went to Youtube, looked up how people crystallized shoes, went to Michael’s after work that same day and got the stuff I needed. I then pulled out a pair of heels from my closet and gave it a go. Once I realized I had some potential, I went onto Google and started to research where I would get the heels from.
To make a long story short, I placed my first order of inventory and got it shipped to my parent’s house (lol). I had a high school friend to make my first website. I registered the business, made an Instagram and launched! I would post pictures and pretend like
people were already buying my products. Then I would go onto the popular hashtags within my industry and just interact with people. I started sending out free products to people with larger followings and they began to post and promote for me. It took 5 days for my first order to even come in. I remember I would check it every second just waiting for someone to order, it was so suspenseful!
Tell us what do you do as the owner?
It would be easier to tell you what I DON’T do! I started this business with NO experience, no help, no employees and barely any money. I quickly realized I would have to do everything, because who else would? This taught me how to become extremely resourceful and a jack of many trades. While things are different now since I have hired help, I will list a variety of things I have done as the owner so anyone who is thinking of starting a small business can have a taste of what’s to come: Customer Service, Shipping, Returns, Website Development, Content Director, Photographer, Videographer, Accounting, Social Media Coordinator, Sponsorship Coordinator, Marketing, Paid Ads, Email Marketing, PayRoll, Taxes, Inventory, Shoe Designer, Shoe/Product Sourcing, Overseas Logistics – and the list goes on J
Do you have any shoe design fails?
YES! After being in business for 2 years I realized the faults with the current shoes on the market and set out on a quest to create my own brand of shoes. I didn’t just want to be different, I wanted to be better. Much better. My first launch for my first shoe design was an epic fail. After almost a year and a half of development, the first production came, preorders were taken, the launch was scheduled and the shoes were all wrong. Not only did the plastic upper shrink to the point where you couldn’t even get your foot in, I quickly noticed a plethora of other issues. After tirelessly trying to get it right with my factory, I ended up having to find a new manufacturer and start over from square 1. Except for this time, I had much more wisdom and knowledge under my belt. The shoe ended up coming out 10x better the second time around!
What is your advice to people who want to follow a similar path to you?
Be resourceful. Everything can be figured out so SAY YES and commit even if you have no idea how you’ll pull it off because guess what? If you have what it takes, you’ll figure it out! Everything always ends up being much more costly than you think it will. You will not just magically become rich overnight. Most importantly, work on it every single day. “Your dreams won’t work unless you do” – Cliché but true!
Can you share some marketing tips on how to launch a new product?
Create good content and repurpose on every platform – Instagram, Instagram Stories, Facebook, Pinterest, Tik Tok, YouTube, Blogs, Email Marketing, Influencer Marketing.
Also, don’t be afraid of sending out free products! For new launches, I create a launch guide for our influencers which accompanies the free product that they get for themselves and also get to promote!
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
This is an important question to answer because setbacks can occur not only in business but in life. They can affect you emotionally, you’re human don’t forget that. For me personally, when I get emotional over something, it makes it harder for me to focus on work which makes me accomplish less and in turn, adds more stress.
I’ve learned to identify when this is happening and listen to myself. Sometimes I need to give myself a break and do something I enjoy like disconnecting and spending time at the beach or park. I’ve learned how to utilize meditation and yoga as tools that help ground me and clear my mind. In doing so, I then am able to resume back to work and feel focused and excited again.
What are some hurdles an aspiring business owner might not be aware of?
The legal aspect of everything can definitely be overwhelming. Especially in relation to taxes. If you are just starting your business and don’t have a lot of extra money to pay an accountant to handle everything, it is very confusing. I suggest hiring someone as soon as you can to avoid important mistakes.
Share two pieces of advice for female entrepreneurs.
You WILL be underestimated but it’s okay. If you’ve got what it takes it only adds fuel to fire. Females are considered to be a “minority” as a business owner. Use it to your advantage and put yourself out there!
Find out more about the shoes at The Shoe Fairy