Sramana Mitra: The seed round was mid-2012. Then two years later, you raised what you’re now calling Series A – the $5.5 million.
Jodie Fox: Yes, we did do bridge rounds in between. In November 2013, we raised $1.75 million.
Sramana Mitra: What else is interesting in your story that is worth highlighting in the journey?
Jodie Fox: Probably the manufacturing side of it. In June 2014, we opened up a manufacturing facility. On Christmas Eve in 2014, we opened our second facility that could do 10 to 22 times the output of the first facility. I think what’s interesting about that is making things one at a time is very difficult to scale.
The other thing that’s interesting is in January 2013, we opened up our offline store. That’s in a department store in Australia. We then went on to open our second store in Seattle. Our third store is a standalone. We’re opening five more stores between now and beginning of May.
Sramana Mitra: Why Seattle? Is that the big concentration of customers?
Jodie Fox: No, because that’s where Nordstrom was headquartered. It was perfect for us to be able to test the store under close guidance.
Sramana Mitra: What is the relationship with Nordstrom?
Jodie Fox: They are such great partners. They are our ideal partner to work with because they understand shoes so well. Additionally, from a cultural perspective, they treat their customers exactly the way we treat our customers. We have very similar principles. For us, those were very critical things.
Sramana Mitra: Are they investors? Are they manufacturers?
Jodie Fox: We have stores within their shoe department.
Sramana Mitra: I see. You have stores within the Nordstrom stores. That’s the model you’re trying to replicate elsewhere outside of Seattle?
Jodie Fox: That’s right.
Sramana Mitra: Got it. Interesting. Part of your scaling strategy seems that you’re giving your customers more templates to design with. If I couldn’t really get what I want, I would have to pick from your catalog?
Jodie Fox: You couldn’t free draw something, but that’s a place that we would like to end up as we continue to develop our technology.
Sramana Mitra: As we were talking, I was looking at your site. I have this absolute favorite pair of boots by Yves Saint Laurent. I bought this pair of boots in 1999. It’s just fantastic. It’s stylish. It’s comfortable and beautiful. I’ve never been able to find a boot like that. I would like to have that custom-designed.
Jodie Fox: Generally, we don’t copy designs. The reason we don’t do that is we don’t want to engage in taking someone’s livelihood from them. We also respect that the design process is something that is heavily invested in by those companies. For us, we will give you all of the option to create what it is that you want.