Every girl needs a pair of flats she loves. But as we all can relate to, it can sometimes be so hard to find the right ones. It’s the exact problem that brought friends Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson together while studying at Harvard. These two gals came together to found Margaux, a shoe company dedicated to the highest level of craft and quality without compromising style.
As someone who started her own company just shy of 31, I am so impressed when people can bring their dreams to life – particularly when it involves so many logistics like material sourcing, manufacturing, shipping, design…the list never ends! Even more incredible? Alexa and Sarah are only 24! Color me tres impressed.
Get to know Alexa and Sarah’s road to Margaux in today’s Witty Conversation With!
Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences.
A: I’m a Philadelphia native living in the West Village and working in Chelsea. I’m building a company with my best friend Sarah, and am almost always on the move. I love to hike, hate to cook, and am currently missing my rambunctious dog Teddy.
S: I grew up in a small town in Florida, and – by way of Boston, where I met my best friend (and now business partner), Alexa – now live and work in New York. I’m a introvert who loves to travel, is trying to make more time to read, and enjoys a good game of corn hole. I have my “dream job” as co-founder of Margaux.
Tell us about Margaux. How was the idea and business born?
We launched Margaux in 2015 with the mission of creating beautiful products that met the demands of modern life – and along the way, redefining the way that shoes are sized and sold. After spending time working summers in consulting and finance, we were all too familiar with the under-the-desk shoe shuffle from flip flop to heel, back to flip flop. We were convinced that there should be (and could be) a shoe that combined form and function, and ensured that a woman could feel dressed and beautiful – while remaining comfortable – all day long. From here we set out to create the perfect ballet flat: a shoe that can take you any place you want to go, with confidence.
You both have had success together at a young age – what’s been the most important lesson to date that you’ve learned from one another?
A: We are so fortunate to have set out on this rollercoaster of a journey together. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Sarah – both as a partner and as a friend. She has taught me to never settle, and what it means to be resilient. She is my confidant and role model – and I don’t know where I’d be without her.
S: Exactly what Alexa said – Everything we’ve accomplished to date, we’ve achieved as a team, and because we are a team. I learn from Alexa every day, but one thing in particular that’s struck me is Alexa’s natural ability to problem-solve. She never takes “no” for an answer and – when obstacles do present themselves – is quick to act and chart a course without missing a beat.
Your company is still so new! What’s been the most challenging thing about running your own company? What’s been the most rewarding?
One of the most challenging things about running your own company is making sure that you carve out time to think about the bigger picture. It is easy, in the chaos of each day, to get bogged down in the weeds. We’ve learned that the single most important thing we can do is to schedule time to step back to set goals for the coming months and years, so that we’re constantly iterating and never letting ourselves get comfortable.
On the flip side, there are many rewarding moments as co-founders of a new brand. Each day is filled with highs and lows (sometimes within fifteen minutes of one another), but one of the most exciting moments for us has been watching customers come back for their third, fourth and fifth pairs within the first year. It is a reminder that we’re onto something, and gives us the energy to keep pushing the envelope on what we can achieve.
What does a “typical” day look like for you?
There is definitely no typical day at Margaux HQ. We’re a small team and we’re often all moving in different directions – dividing and conquering to keep everything moving forward. That said, something that has become increasingly important to us as we’ve grown is our Monday morning meeting. Every Monday we come together in our studio to share highlights from the previous week, set goals for the week to come, and discuss important updates as a team. We’ve found that this is the perfect way to celebrate the wins (however small), and sync up before the week is underway.
Finding a flat you love – and more importantly that is comfortable – can be a challenge! What makes Margaux’s fit and style different from other brands?
At Margaux, our first priority is fit. Our goal is to create the best fitting shoes that don’t compromise design for comfort, or vice versa. We offer both made-to-measure and standard sizes because we believe that customers need more optionality. A 2014 study revealed that 88% of women are wearing the wrong size shoe – often a result of the lack of width options and limited sizes that are offered by most brands and retailers. Our commitment to fit means that there’s an option for everyone – something that few other players in the market offer right now – which has allowed us to build an incredibly loyal customer base as a result.
What inspires your styles and colors?
We take inspiration from many things. First and foremost, we’re inspired by the modern woman for whom we’ve built the brand. We believe today’s modern woman is diverse and multi-faceted, moving fluidly throughout her day from one thing to the next. Because of this, we wanted to make sure we could provide a color for every personality, season, moment and mood, in order to replicate the dynamic disposition of the women we were designing for. We’re also often inspired by art, by designers who’ve come before us, and by vintage shoes we’ve found in the archives of the internet.
3 apps you swear by (and why!)?
A: Waze – a lifeline for the directionally challenged, Inbox (by Gmail) – because there’s no feeling quite like reaching “inbox zero”, and FaceTime – because it keeps me close to the people who are far away.
S: The Real Real – I’m addicted (I troll for personal benefit, and for inspiration from vintage shoe styles). Instagram (Stories) – As someone who could never quite get the hang of Snapchat, I’m obsessed with the new stories feature. LearnVest – For helping me set goals and stick to a budget on the go!
Favorite spots to eat & drink in New York?
A: The Elk is my go-to morning stop, and a new favorite for dinner is Pasquale Jones.
S: Everyone who knows me also knows I can’t live without ice cream – You’ll find me in line at either the Eataly Gelato counter or the Van Leeuwen’s shop near my West Village apartment every weekend. For a special occasion dinner, it’s hard to beat Carbone. It’s like stepping back in time to a old-school Italian joint, complete with Sinatra on the speakers and a white-and-black checkered floor.
What’s a piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
A: Go for it! You don’t have to be an expert in what you want to do, you just have to be willing to work hard enough to figure it out.
S: Take a risk – You won’t regret it. We’ve learned time and again that the greatest risks often lead to the greatest rewards. It doesn’t matter if you fail – You’ll learn so much from trying.
What’s next for Margaux?
Our goal is to disrupt the women’s footwear market, one silhouette at a time. Our custom-fit value proposition provides a unique opportunity for customer loyalty as we grow – and we hope that in five years someone will be able to say, “Margaux makes my shoes”. So keep an eye out for new styles and silhouettes very soon!
Thanks so much to Alexa and Sarah for being a part of Witty Conversation With! You can find out more about the brand and shop for shoes (that’s what I’ll be doing!) on their website and be sure to follow them on Instagram.
[Photography courtesy of Margaux]