New Business Spotlight: Mikko Shoes, Milford
Bringing European Shoes To Milford
Ambling through European shoe fairs sounds very glamorous, but for Michaela Inger it was the hard work required to bring European shoes to Milford.
Michaela opened the doors of Mikko Shoes on March 11, following months of research, travel, careful buying and even making a pair of shoes herself.
“I hunted for my brands and I’m really happy with the ones I have secured,” she said, having now built a strong range of internationally recognised brands, many exclusive to Mikko Shoes.
“You can’t just walk up and choose what you want. You have to build relationships. It’s a lengthy and important process. Not only does the brand need to fit with Mikko Shoes; Mikko Shoe needs to fit with the brand.
“It’s great that many of the suppliers back me because of my youth. It’s an advantage being one of the youngest in the industry as my ideas and my approach are different, new and fresh- exactly what the industry needs.”
She said the buying process is not as easy as many people think.
“You have to make sure that the product is marketable. There was a lot I had to say no to.
Michaela searched and found quality shoes which encompass Mikko Shoes’ philosophy; that comfort, style and value should always go together, whatever the occasion.
The next step involved critiquing top retailers across New Zealand and Australia to bring the best customer service to Mikko Shoes.
Designing the fit-out and cabinetry was also a creative outlet for Michaela, who graduated in Fashion Design at AUT University and worked in the clothing industry following her study.
“You need a balance in life to allow yourself to work on such a large project. The creative parts of the business are my favourite parts but I wouldn’t have got to this point without a steady head and a realistic approach.”
The store’s fit-out was not all creativity, she said. It was also project management and “expecting the unexpected”. The end result is a world class “European feeling” store which opened as planned on March 11.
Michaela said she is excited to be a retailer in a changing Milford but is also looking forward to launching her second store in Remuera, opening this month, as well as the website.
“More people take you seriously when you are expecting to be successful. If I didn’t have the second store it wouldn’t be as serious for some of the brands.”
A supportive and involved family has also been instrumental in putting the business together; whether it was quality checks and feedback from her Mum and sister or retailing advice from Dad and The Warehouse Group co-founder, Glen Inger.
“With Dad’s retail background, he is my mentor. I’ll come up with an idea and he’ll tell me if I am being crazy or not and visa versa.
“It’s about realistic solutions. Because he has been in retail for so long it’s second nature to him.”
The store has a wide selection of shoes suitable for a range of customers; from small and large sizes to wide and orthotic friendly fittings.
So far the shop has been filled with excitement as the Milford community checks out the new addition to their main street.
“I’ve been really surprised by the all-encompassing age bracket. I’m glad that ladies of all ages are starting to recognise quality.
“Everyone is excited for Mikko Shoes. Milford society is excited. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see the reaction as more shoes arrive in store over the coming months.”
Mikko Shoes, 121 Kitchener Road, Milford. Visit: www.mikkoshoes.co.nz