CoIX Turns 2!
When we started this journey, we embarked on it with a clear vision: to make versatile, modern yet classic shoes for larger shoe sizes that not only age well, but would complement looks from day into night.
It's tough running a small business from day to day, whilst working full time. Now two years in, we really wanted to celebrate how far we have come and thank you for all the support you've shown us through this journey! From our friends and family who encouraged us when CoIX was just an idea with no name, right through to the tall & plus communities who have embraced us as we’ve found our feet (pun intended).
We always get asked “Why did you want to start a shoe brand?” And truth be told, when we met it was ritually a bonding over frustration of struggling to find tall friendly clothing and shoes that fit our size 13 feet. We started this journey about four and half years ago with very little knowledge about footwear and the manufacturing process, but we had an enthusiasm for fashion, an eye for what would work in our closets, and a fiery desire to give ourselves and people like us better choices than what was currently available in the market.
We wanted to share some gems we've learned along the way and what we're most looking forward to for the future of CoIX.
What have you learned about yourself?
CHARLOTTE — I learned 4 things:
1. Don’t be afraid of things going wrong, failing and falling down. These things are all a VERY regular part of life.
2. I am my own worst critic.
3. I have an incredible network of people around me who are so supportive and encouraging.
4. I know my audience and I am my customer! Trust your instincts, the right things will happen in the right time.
It took being in the driver's seat for CoIX to learn my strength and what I am capable of. I learned quickly that I was afraid of so many things I couldn’t control; starting small, looking stupid, making mistakes and not getting things right. Running this business helped me learn that the mistakes we make are what teach our biggest life lessons. How I get up from the fall is what determines my success, not the way I fell down. I also learned that looking stupid was nothing for me to worrry about. How people view me, is not my business because it wasn’t something I could control. Once I recognized this, I noticed that I internally was in a constant state of beating myself up; telling myself I don’t do enough, that my creative ideas wouldn’t translate and constantly spoke negatively to myself both personally and professionally. I had to add the first two points together to realize, a vicious cycle of negative self talk and fear was not a recipe for anything good! It was the words of encouragement and love from my incredible network of friends, family and acquaintances that helped me recognize my power and how this brand is working towards solving a big problem and making women like me feel good in the process! The people in my life closest to me helped encourage me and were those reminders I needed to let me know that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
It was the support of my network and the very obvious reminder that I am my own customer that made me realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am not running CoIX for huge financial gains or for the desire to become the world's most popular shoe designer, this brand was born out of a desire to solve a problem that many women like me had and in time, those who need to know about CoIX Shoes will know about CoIX Shoes!
SHERENE — Starting this business has helped me grow in so many ways. I think the most significant change for me has been overcoming my fear of failure. I've always been a bit risk averse, hoping to never make an ill fated step that would "set me back" from my very well thought out and thoroughly planned life milestones. I knew I wanted to start a business, but vivid imagery of it crashing and burning kept me subconsciously dragging my feet. It manifested in ways like wanting things to be in a "perfect" place before I could feel comfortable sharing it with others.
Through starting CoIX I know that perfect ideal I was trying to attain was nothing more than a huge hinderance and unnecessary burden. Especially as a small business with limited resources, my new mantra is "fail fast, and improve as you go" as it's truly the best way to learn and grow. Failure isn't something to be avoided, but to dive head first into. Every person in business has had to overcome a string of failures to achieve what they have now, and I'm open now more than ever to finding enjoyment in the entire journey, the failures and the wins.
What are you most excited about for the future of CoIX?
CHARLOTTE — I am excited to see the progression of our brand's voice. CoIX Shoes is currently a brand with some beautiful staple heels for your wardrobe; and our current collection was meant to be a statement collection full of timeless, chic and modern shoes that can be as versatile and fun as your wardrobe.
I know where I can see the brand at three years old and five years old and for me, the growth will come as I watch the women who will wear our shoes become more confident within themselves. I want CoIX Shoes to inspire women with big feet to feel more excited about getting dressed and finishing off their outfits with the perfect pair of shoes. The best feeling is speaking with someone who wears a size US 11,12,13 (UK 9, 10, 11 and EU 44,45,46 respectively) and seeing their face light up when I tell them the brand's size range. I want to make so many shoes that don’t exist for us right now and I want to make them all well, with quality materials. (I know, we need a perfect tall friendly over the knee / thigh high boot badly too!). I am really looking forward to the days when I will be able to meet you all out there who wear our size at meetups/pop ups/events and shows. I miss the social interaction in this incredible community and I love receiving live feedback in person.
The upcoming collection excites me because we are working on a line that I cannot wait to wear! I know that CoIX Shoes has a long way to go but seeing where we started and looking at our trajectory, I know the only way to grow is UP!
SHERENE — Taking a shoe from idea to real life is my favourite part of the work we do. I love spending hours trawling fashion imagery across the web for design inspiration. I'm most excited about expanding our current collection with more diverse styles that we love, allowing us to continue to improve the fit of our footwear and also expand the sizing options we can cater to (wide widths are still on the roadmap!).
As we grow our collection, I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and actually meet our community as well. As an online brand, we have connected with you through social media but once we're back to some level of normality after dealing with this pandemic, I'd love to be doing more events and meeting you all in person. There's nothing more special than seeing someone's eyes light up when they realise our shoes come in their oft overlooked size. The glee they have when they try on a pair, and they not only love the style but it fits them well with no compromise! It gives me all the feels, and when I'm low on energy reinvigorates me to continue persevering with the work we're doing.
Celebrate with us!
Considering that we are currently in two different parts of the world, we planned a virtual celebration and would love for you to join us!
We both wanted to get in front of the brand a bit more as we gear up for the launch of our next collection so we'll be on Instragram live this Sunday, 13th December at 1pm EST/6pm GMT having a toast, answering your questions and chatting about tall fashion and more!
Follow us on Instagram to join the party. Can't wait to see you there x
Hi Ankisa, thanks for reaching out! What specifically are you struggling on: where to manufacture, what type of shoes you want to make, the legal side of incorporating and running a business? Regardless, I think the first step is to get to understand the shoe manufacturing process for yourself so you are better able to communicate with manufacturers about your vision and designs.
I want to start my shoe line but struggling on where, what to do to start. Any suggestions besides just start?