Aussie success story now on brink of ruin
AUSSIE footwear start-up Shoes of Prey seems to have become the latest victim of our struggling retail sector.
The company, which was founded in 2009 by Lismore woman Jodie Fox, Michael Fox and Mike Knapp, has revealed it has ceased trading in a shock announcement posted to its website and on social media.
The company, which was initially a tearaway success, allowed shoppers to customise their own shoes via the company website, which were then delivered within a few weeks.
But today, a message on the Shoes of Prey website revealed the extent of the business's troubles.
"When we started Shoes of Prey back in 2009, we couldn't have dreamed that we would have the opportunity to share in such an incredible adventure," the statement began.
"And you were the most wonderful people to have that adventure with.
"Today we're pausing to consider our options for the future of our business, and we have stopped taking orders.
"We have reviewed all of our orders and if we see that we are unable to make your shoes, you will be fully refunded."
Ms Fox also took to Instagram to share more details about the company's spectacular rise - and fall.
She said the business was "not able to truly crack mass-market adoption" and that the founders had made the "difficult decision" to "pause orders and actively assess all our options" - including selling up or rebooting the company with "substantial changes".
A hint of the company's problems came to light in March this year when Mr Fox, the company's chief executive, emailed some of the country's biggest start-up names to ask for fresh funding from investors.
In that email, he explained the company needed $3 million in a "bridge round" to shift towards a completely new business model - and save the company.
But while it seems that last-ditch effort was unsuccessful, many fans of the company are hoping the pause in trading is only temporary and that Shoes of Prey's setbacks can be overcome.
"This makes me so sad, I adore my numerous pairs of shoes of prey shoes. Hope you can find a way forward for the company," one Instagram user wrote.
Another added: "Such a sad day! I have recommended you to many friends who have loved the shoes you made them. I was only just thinking of what my next pair would be. Hope you do come back bigger and stronger."