036: Direct to Consumer Sales Strategy with Ace Marks Founder Paul Farago
Direct to Consumer
Ace Marks is a brand of handcrafted Italian dress shoes that has leveraged a direct to consumer sales strategy to disrupt one of the most established industries. In the past year alone, Ace Marks has sold in more than 80 countries, and has become the worlds most funded footwear project through Kickstarter. Founders Paul Farago and Julian Gonzalez join SalesFounders to talk about their relentless focus on customer experience, crowdfunding, and the domain expertise behind this disruptive brand of luxury shoes.
On this Episode we Discuss:
- Leveraging domain experience around the needs of the customer
- The pro’s and con’s of the direct to consumer strategy
- Why Ace Marks chose crowdfunding as their initial source of growth
- Kickstarter success and their unorthodox approach to building a campaign
- Life after Crowdfunding – how to find sustainable growth channels
- Breaking paradigms – educating customers and the cost=value fallacy
- Influencer Marketing – the algorithm Ace Marks developed to identify the best influencers
- How to manage cash flow in high inventory startups
- Competition and the challenge to disrupt highly established industries
About Ace Marks
Ace Marks wasn’t created on a whim. It is the product of a lifetime of experience in the luxury footwear business and realizing that it’s broken – men shouldn’t have to spend obscene amounts for a handcrafted world-class shoe. So we set out to fix it. In late 2012 we realized that men had three choices when it came to dress shoes. Buy cheap, poorly made shoes, spend a little more to get a pair with a slight cosmetic upgrade, or spend an uncomfortable amount on a pair from the luxury super powers. If you like to look good, these aren’t good choices.
Harnessing modern technology, we knew that we could get rid of middlemen and their markups to directly deliver a world-class, handcrafted shoe rivaling those of the top luxury brands, all at an attainable price. After 35,000 miles of travel and many hours touring factories, developing styles, and choosing materials, Ace Marks dress shoes are finally here. In developing our unique combinations of colors and materials, it was vital to us that ace marks fulfills the needs of the modern gentleman. We created a reasonably priced, cleverly contemporary, utterly luxurious and comfortable dress shoe that makes a lavish powerful statement whether you’re landing your first client or running a Fortune 500 company.