There's an idea that that's a correlation price and quality. The more expensive something is then the better the quality. However for Andres Niño and Nicholas Hurtado, that's not always the case. Their footwear company Beckett Simonon was created with the premis that “good looking, well-crafted shoes shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, especially for younger, stylish gentlemen.”
Hearpreneur spoke with the co-founders. The interview is below.
What about your experience has led you to start your business?
On one hand, a passion for doing things ourselves and believing that by doing so we would be contributing to the development of our country, motivated us from the get-go to do our own thing. On the other hand, the Internet and large amounts of information and resources made it now possible what 10 years ago was unheard off. We have been longtime followers of many startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that showed us that it is possible to start your own business. We learned that it’s easier than ever to start a company thanks to so many of the amazing tools at our fingertips
Why did you start your business?
Four years ago, we launched our first business Hasso. Back then, we used traditional retail to sell our leather goods in more than 11 countries around the world. We eventually got fed up with the huge markups from middlemen who were charging insane prices to our customers. We then decided to start Beckett Simonon, a new company that sold shoes directly to customers at a fair price by avoiding the middleman all together. The current path between brands and customers is expensive, long and detached, so by cutting out the distributors, wholesalers and retailers, we can offer better products at a more affordable price. Plus, we have a stronger relationship with our customers and are able to offer a consistent buying experience.
What are some of your lessons learned when starting your business?
- When you engage in a direct and transparent relationship with customers, you gain clarity on what really matters to them, but most importantly you earn their trust. No matter how great your product is, if you don’t listen to your customers you will have nothing but a business that is constrained by you that will struggle to survive.
- You always have to over deliver. Having good customer service is not enough these days. Good service is the norm and is expected. If you really want to succeed, you have to go beyond that. It’s not easy or cheap, but in the long run, it feels good and really helps the business. It sparks conversations about your company, increases word of mouth conversation, and improves brand engagement. Simply put, people don’t talk about average.
- Many young entrepreneurs worry too much about their business idea. Being obsessed with the details creates unnecessary fears, not to mention delays and distractions. The truth is anyone can steal an idea from you. What really matters is your execution and vision. Focus on your team and your strengths, because ideas alone don’t create businesses, execution and hard work does.
Tell us about Beckett Simonon Footwear.
Beckett Simonon was launched a little more than a year ago with the aim to become the first truly value-oriented lifestyle brand. Above just the products, style should be a mix of intelligence and rebel spirit. That's why we named our brand after two of our favorite style icons, the writer Samuel Beckett and Paul Simonon from The Clash.
What’s the deal with us?
We think that every guy can look great and that stylish shoes shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. We take the extra money away from the middleman (or retailers) and put it back in our customer’s pockets. People have called us “the Warby Parker of shoes,” but we just think that the modern gentleman should be able to look great without spending a fortune.
What's the goal?
We dream of democratizing beautiful and high quality shoes that before were only accessible for a few people. It’s something that was unattainable years ago. We operate a U.S. business remotely. We are based in Colombia, but our brand is 100% internationally focused. We are bootstrapping, meaning that we have no external funding and are completely independent.
Ok, but what’s the real deal with that?
We are direct to consumer, meaning no middlemen, operating only online and acting as a completely independent business, owned and operated by us. We outsource every service (including warehousing, accounting, order fulfillment, and distribution) and only focus on what we do best: design and manufacturing. Ultimately, we love that there are no hard-fast standards on how startups should operate. It's completely up to the entrepreneur’s hunger and motivation.
What are some future trends that you notice in the direct-to-consumer retail industry?
There have been some exciting changes during the last few years in the retail industry. Companies such as Bonobos, Warby Parker, Harry’s, Zappos, Moda Operandi and Nasty Gal have raised the bar. No one expects a decent product at a decent price anymore. Now, people are expecting to get blown away. So basically, if anyone wants to make it in this new retail world, they have to step up their game.
More often, these companies are showing us that the future of retail is in the junction of a consistent online and offline experience. When things are done right, the “wow” factor will spark conversations between customers, setting the brand apart from the pack. These are definitely key trends that will determine the winners and loser of this exciting game.