We spoke again with Michael McCaleb of Zuriick, to find out a few more details on their thriving business. How’d they get to where they are now, why did the make the exact decisions they made, and how could young entrepreneurs do the same. Take a look at Michael’s take after the jump…
11: Why did you decide to start Zuriick (and where did the name come from)?
Michael: We decided to start Zuriick after being tired of wearing the same shoes for years and not having better options than the Chuck Taylor. We wanted to make a slimmer shoe that looked better with tighter jeans. We also wanted shoes with color and subtle detail (such as the purple sole and hidden elastic in the Ake). The name is a David Bowie reference.
11: How did the purple soles come into play?
Michael: The purple sole came into to play after discussing not wanting to do any visual branding on the top of the shoe and decided that the sole would be a great part of the shoe to set apart from anything else we’d seen without being too in your face.
11: What was your business model to become as successful as you are? Was there promotional work? How much word of mouth? Did your personal drive play a large role?
Michael: To be honest we didn’t start with much of a business model. We just started designing shoes that we wanted to wear and would sell them in some stores locally as well as to friends. After having them here locally we started having buyers contact us after they had seen them in Bastille (the first store we sold our shoes at in Salt Lake). We just kept making color-ways of the Ake for the first couple years and they started catching on little by little around the U.S. We’ve been lucky enough to build a sort of cult following and it’s made us what we are today.
11: Did you ever think you would be this successful at the early stages of the business?
Michael: We definitely didn’t expect to get to the point we’re out now. It really began as a hobby for us. We still get excited when we sell one shoe.
11: Do you gents have a retail store?
Michael: We do not have a retail store at this time. However, the local store, Bastille, stocks an entire wall with Zuriick. In S.F. the Filippa K store also stocks a pretty large selection of Zuriick.
11: What’s the strangest proposal for a free pair of your kicks that you’ve received?
Michael: I don’t know that there has been anything too strange. We’ve traded for bicycles, paintings, clocks and tickets to see some bands play.
11: Any advice regarding any other young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Michael: Start small, take it slow and it’ll work out.
Thank you to Zuriick to supporting us with plenty of great material for the week. It was a pleasure to have you guys featured on the blog. For those of you in need of some fly kicks, peruse away on the Zuriick online store.