Providing your customers with high-quality products can be challenging. Finding a way to make those products affordable can be even harder.
Vicky Scalia understands this problem all too well. She’s the co-founder and co-CEO of L’Intervalle, a footwear brand with more than 15 stores across Canada and a loyal following online. Ahead, Vicky shares how to maintain high production standards while creating a product that won’t break a customer’s budget.
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Cutting out the middleman
Vicky launched L’Intervalle out of her own need. “When I looked for shoes, it was either shoes that didn’t really last or the quality wasn’t at par, or it was a question of having to spend hundreds even thousands of dollars,” Vicky says.
The number one cost-saving strategy that helped L’Intervalle offer affordable, well-made shoes was cutting out the middleman. “We work directly with our factory partners to be able to cut the costs in terms of the sourcing,” Vicky says.
Connecting with your production partners on a deeper level
L’Intervalle works with partners in Europe and South America, and it’s an important part of Vicky’s job to understand the values and goals unique to these places.
“Understand the different cultures, because it’s definitely [going to show up] in many different ways,” Vicky says.
On top of educating herself on their culture and customs, Vicky prides herself in selecting partners with whom she shares similarities beyond the business of making shoes.
Relying on research and expert advice
Entrepreneurs can’t be experts in every area of their business, so don’t be afraid to hire outside help. “Surround yourself with the right experts that will give you the right advice,” she says.
“As we were doing our research for the brand, our kids kept us accountable to it, and we wanted to do things differently because we felt an obligation to the planet and towards our future generations,” Vicky says.
She wanted everything to be as ethically sourced and produced as possible, so she hired experts who would be able to guide her and her partner in the right direction.
Asking for help isn’t always easy, but it will help your business remain sustainable over time. After consulting experts in the field, the team at L’Intervalle decided to work with vegetable-tanned leather instead of using chrome-tanned leather, as the latter leaves behind more waste and negatively affects the environment.
It’s not impossible to keep costs low while still offering a high-quality product to your customers. It takes close attention to detail and a commitment to building strong relationships.
Check out the full Shopify Masters episode to hear how Vicky and her team manage to keep costs low at L’Intervalle while still expanding its retail and online presence.