Jodie Fox established cult online shoe business Shoes of Prey in 2009 with husband Michael and business partner Mike Knapp, who she met while studying law and international business at university.
In just two years since launch, the smoking hot start-up has had women design tens of millions
custom-made shoes to women around the world, and opened offices in Russia, Japan, China, England and The Netherlands.
The multi-million dollar Shoes of Prey business is now considered an innovation leader in the retail space, and Fox has been invited to Parliament House to consult with federal ministers on how to foster innovation in the local small business community.
Deservedly, Fox’s success and business smarts have been recognised many times over this year; she was named the Hudson Private and Corporate Telstra Businesswoman of the Year just last month and Shoes of Prey was given the nod in the 2011 Online Retail Industry Awards, the BRW Business Awards and the Oracle World Retail Awards – to name just a few.
And she’s not done yet. Fox just helped launch another online fashion start-up in tandem with ex-Google strategist Mark Capps, called Sneaking Duck.
In this interview, Fox talks to Dynamic Business about whether an entrepreneur is born with the requisite skills for success, and reveals hardest lesson she’s had to learn.
Q. You were young when you established Shoes of Prey, do you think age is any barrier to success in business?
Age is no barrier to success, but experience can be. I was so fortunate to discover that the entrepreneurial community is a very generous one – so all you need to do is reach out and you’ll get the advice you need to bridge that gap as much as you can.
Q. How important is it for an entrepreneur to have a good support system around them?
Incredibly important, from both a professional and personal perspective. Professionally because you’re only one person, and you’re going to be way too subjective when it comes to your own business, so you need the advice of others. Personally because given half the chance you wouldn’t do anything but work, so you need friends and family to remind you of all those other important things so you have perspective and inspiration.
Q. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learnt since setting up Shoes of Prey?
Just one? Maybe the most important lesson for me has been a personal one, and if I am honest I am still learning it today. It’s to separate the emotion from the work to a certain extent. Not to diminish my passion but to be able to create a clear headspace for good decision-making and a less stressful day-to-day.
Q. Do you think an entrepreneur is born with the qualities that make them successful, or can they be learned?
I’m firmly in the boat that believes anything is possible, so I think that they can be learnt – but I think it takes a particular type of person to want to take the entrepreneur path and I suspect there’s a bit of natural sorting that happens at that stage.
Q. What one piece of advice would you like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just make a decision and see what happens. Don’t sit on the idea and plan to the point of inaction – sometimes the best thing you can do is learn by doing.