With life it is all about ‘putting your best foot forward’ and for Nikki Hager she wanted to make sure it was in the best shoes possible. So when Nikki noticed a gap in the high heel shoe industry, she clicked her heels and didn’t look back. Six years later and Peeptoe Shoes continues to be one of the dominate forces within the fashion and shoe industries.
“It was about six years ago that I really noticed an opportunity for a brand like PeepToe,” Nikki, Founder and Creative Director of Peeptoe Shoes, explains.
“I saw an opportunity to provide something different. There was an absence of ‘high’ heels that not only made a statement but had a comfort and quality factor that had not been met yet.”
But as any one would expect, seizing an opportunity and then making that into an empire was no easy task.
“With any new start-up business there is always the major hurdle of cash flow and trying to generate enough funding to keep you going.
“However, the other major hurdle I encountered was building up a great network of likeminded business people. It is so important to gain as much industry knowledge as possible when you’re starting out, but it’s also the hardest part,” says Nikki.
So what advice does Nikki give to overcoming hurdles and feelings of doubt?
“The most important thing I learnt was not to be afraid to ask questions. People are always willing to help where they can, no questions means no answers.
“Also, my family and friends would give me a huge push when it came to moments of doubt. It was their encouragement and support combined with the strength of the opportunity that I knew this business had, that helped me push through,” Nikki recounts.
So, with Nikki chosen as Her Life’s Woman of the Month we sat down with her to discover a little more about her life, what continues to inspire her each day at Peeptoe Headquarters and of course, what is her current favourite shoe!
Nikki, what continues to inspire you each day?
There are many things that inspire me to continue. Watching the brand constantly evolve; opening new stores and being presented with new opportunities is always so exciting. My PeepToe team is always a source of inspiration; from working with buying and design on creating new and innovative products, to interacting with the faces of the brand, my retail team, their constant enthusiasm and love for the brand inspires me every day. And last but not least, my children Andre, Ollie and Zach they keep me grounded and remind me what all the effort is for.
What are your views on the modern business environment?
The modern business environment is an exciting space to be in! With the growth of social media and e-tailing there are so many diverse opportunities for PeepToe. PeepToe has set a focus on social media, with a growing Facebook fan base of 105,000+ so we are constantly communicating in real time with the fans of our brand allowing them to become involved with PeepToe beyond just a purchase level.
Share with us, what is the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
When I first started the best piece of advice I ever received was to “keep small and stay small for as long as you can”. When overheads start to build up too quickly you can start to lose control of your business. To stay small you must learn to wear many hats and juggle many different parts of the business on your own. Taking the time to plan and evolve is the best advice I could have received.
And finally, a little fun one to end on….what is your current favourite collection or shoe?
‘Miss Neverland’ (below) has to be my favourite shoe, it represents where the brand has come to in terms of developing the product – this flare sandal is the perfect mix between fashion forward and wearable! The creative team and I travelled the world to find this shape and it was well worth it!