Sarah Pierson and Alexa Buckley want their ballet flats to be the shoes you wear all day.
The best friends and former college roommates, both 23, cofounded Margaux in May, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site that sells just one shoe silhouette: the ballet flat.
Pierson said the two developed a flat shoe that they think rivals a heel — and are building a brand rooted in fit and personalization to get women to change the way they think about ballet flats.
“When we thought of…pieces in a modern woman’s wardrobe we came to the ballet flat as that holding piece,” said Buckley, who began working on the company with Pierson during their senior year of college a year-and-a-half ago. “It’s classic in its aesthetic but there’s opportunity to reinvent it. As we dug deep, [we found that] it’s one of the hardest shoes to engineer and fit.”
“A lot of companies will elasticize the shoes to resolve common issues with fit — and that can be gapping at the sides or looseness at the heels. That elastic helps get rid of issues,” Pierson added. “But the real problem is that the shoe feels a lot more casual and there isn’t much support.”
In their quest to design the “perfect-fitting” shoe, Margauxny.com offers both standard sizing and made-to-measure options. A suede version comes in 14 shades, including metallic silver, and ranges from $175 for standard sizing to $195 for made-to-measure. A new “Limited” collection, released last week, is fashioned from Italian calf hair and comes in navy, bright orange, dusty rose and camel. These retail for $245 for standard size and $265 for made-to-measure.
An in-home fitting service, The Fit Specialist, was also introduced last week in New York and was booked solid the first five days. There is a flat, $15 fee for a fit specialist to come to one’s home or office, measure your feet and show you color swatches.
While standard-sized shoes are made in Spain from Italian leather, made-to-measure components are made in Spain but assembled in New York and shipped within two weeks.
“The whole idea is to make this a wonderfully branded experience, something that felt innovative but also very personalized and intimate. It takes no more than 15 minutes,” Pierson said.