An Auckland woman who above has found lots of women and created a shoe business after struggling to locate pairs to fit size 10 face the same problem.
Gustavia Lui has an internet style shoe retail and design, manufacturing business, which she runs out of her Manurewa home.
Gustavia at China
Gustavia – shoe manufacturing course
“We had our first sale actually over 2 minutes and I started crying” – Gustavia Lui
The mom of three is the founder of the internet business staavias.com selling women’s shoes catering to broad and huge toes, from sizes 10 to 14.
After a life time of the shoes of men and wearing jandals, Lui chose to get something to improve many girls who have difficulty finding a pair of shoes that were large.
Lui told RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan she found it extremely frustrating having to work in men’s shoes and jandals, since there were alternatives out there.
“There were instances where I was able to receive a few pairs but they’d literally kill my feet and I’d only have to hold my breath before the end of the day.”
In the time she awakened the idea for your own business, Lui was working at Income and Work.
“I did explore over a couple of decades, from 2013 onwards I started traveling and doing far more research.”
To realise her dream, she attended to an entrepreneur college in Sydney, failed a three-day shoe style course at New York, trade shows from Las Vegas, and then found that a manufacturer to make her designs.
She says she never felt very ready to initiate the business, but took the plunge anyway.
“Even when I left I still didn’t feel like I was ready to begin a company. I was actually very scared but I thought, you know, I just live once, I’m going to be now it’s never going to take place, if I do not do it.
“In the end I just made that decision to take action and attempt to figure it out from there.”
Lui doesn’t draw, which she says is a challenge in the design side of the business.
“I just can’t do it. I have it and basically I just wanted someone to place it on paper, whatever I tell them to sketch it out .
But she found designers that were able to draw her her creations.
They speak with video or Skype conversation, where she creates suggestions to reach the result.
Lui says the entire procedure has been a challenge, especially the introduction of the site.
She was up for three days continuously until it went live in January this past year.
“We had our very first sale actually within 2 minutes and I started crying.”
A newspaper article several months after the launch saw business explode overnight.
She needed to tell customers there would be a wait, and didn’t have shoes that are enough to cater to the sales that had come through.
One of Gustavia Lui’s layouts. Photo: Supplied
“I emailed each and every client that ordered a set in April to let them know I wasn’t expecting and in the event you could please be patient it may take just a little while.
“Everyone was so beautiful about it… everyone was really reassuring it was such an great moment.”
Lui says she loves the challenges the business presents and describes herself.
“I’ve come to be so caught up in things I always need to see what it’ll look like at the end.
“So I pictured I was going to have a shoe store and I thought, ‘oh yes, that sounds cool’. And I just kept on pursuing it, even though I had all these issues.”
She says the battle is what keeps. Lui says she has been surprised by the number of girls who do have feet that are larger.
“It makes me wonder, where did these girls get their sneakers from at the start?”
And says she has a few customers.
“They purchase one set, they return and find the other one and another one and another one and they end up getting each and every pair that we have for sale.”
Australia and New Zealand are now her markets at the moment, but she’s sold shoes in America, Fiji, Niue, Singapore.
Lui says the business is looking at expanding emotionally in nations where it has established clients Australia.