How did you get into the shoe business?
Shoes have always been my passion, and having studied the art of shoe design and manufacture at university this was always the dream. The time seemed right. After graduating I started my first business at the age of 21 and also spent a number of years in the corporate sector. So I have a long history of starting businesses and I just keep going.
Can you tell us a bit more about how the shoes are made?
The product is entirely made by craftsmen and is goodyear welted construction. Each pair goes through approximately 10-12 weeks of processes in Northampton before it’s ready.
Where does the name ‘Marcus De’ come from?
The name comes from my middle name that I inherited from my Grandfather. He was the inspiration behind the brand so it seemed the perfect name.
How big is your team – do you have a good work/life balance?
I’m the lone ranger right now! The work/life balance is very difficult to achieve in the first five years of a new business. I’m into sports and so exercise a lot which helps with stress. I’m also a big fan of cooking/eating, drinking and travelling which is a great way to find inspiration and let your mind freewheel.
What’s your plans for the future growth of your business?
The plan is to become a lifestyle brand across a mix of products slowly and steadily.
And how do you find the balance between creativity and commercial viability?
This is a very fine line and very difficult to get right in the beginning. Over time as the brand grows stronger there will be opportunities to do some more creative projects. Some of the styles I have released have been less commercially viable than others, but you learn quickly!
What would you say has been the most successful form of marketing and promotion for Marcus De?
The brand has grown organically with the help of loyal customers and credible publications. As we start to do shows we will gather momentum once the product and brand is being seen by more and more people.
What’s the best thing about running your business?
It’s not the stress! Being able to make decisions and the satisfaction when you get something right.
What’s on your work playlist?
Jazz, Hotel Costes, Cafe del Mar, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and a bit of Duran Duran.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the shoe business?
Find your passion. It makes it easier when it gets tough if you are passionate about what you are doing. Never give up and always believe in yourself.