Today we are featuring another Lane Cove Online Entrepreneur – John Hooke and his website Styled to the Max by Max. Styled to the Max by Max is the website you go to when you have the perfect dress and need the right shoes to wear with it. Why pay for expensive shoes you might only wear on a couple of occasions? Styled to the Max by Max hires out designer shoes. We asked John to tell us all about his business and his love for designer shoes.
Why Did you Launch Styled to the Max by Max?
I started Styled to the Max by Max because I had purchased numerous a ladies’ shoes and I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t want to sell them because I loved them too much. So I thought hiring them out would be a good idea. The website has been up and running for around 6 months now. The website address is: www.styledtothemaxbymax.com.au
Have you Always Loved Shoes?
No, not always. My passion started 8 years ago whilst I was volunteering at Vinnies Lane Cove (St Vincent’s De Paul). A really good donation of high-quality ladies’ shoes came in and from there I was hooked.
How do You Decide Which Shoes to Include in Your Collection?
It wasn’t a pre-planned thing as to which shoes I would include in my collection. Basically, if I saw a ladies’ shoe that I liked I would buy it. I worked in the David Jones ladies shoe department for 2 years. Whenever I saw a shoe I liked, I would buy it. I remember opening up the new stock cardboard boxes in great anticipation!!
I also saw some great shoes from overseas (especially Italy) in a famous ladies’ shoe shop called Miss Louise in Melbourne. I looked up the designers I liked (for example Giuseppe Zanotti) and purchased them online.
I went to Italy 5 years ago and bought 12 pairs of shoes. I travelled to Milan for a weekend and went to the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro or “Golden rectangle” shopping district. There was a Giuseppe Zanotti shop there so I bought a few pairs from there.
Brands include: Giuseppe Zanotti, Gianvitto Rossi, Sophia Webster, Emporio Armani, Nine West, Steve Madden, Midas and many more.
Who Is Your Customer?
My key demographics are women aged from 15-60 years old or any woman willing to wear heels 👠 since most of my 67 shoes have heels or wedges.
How Does the Shoe Hire System Work?
All the photos of my 67 shoes are on my website. I have divided the 67 shoes into 5 categories to make it easier to browse the website. My most expensive shoes are in a category called “One of a Kind“. These are mostly shoes designed by my favourite ladies shoe designer, Giuseppe Zanotti. The other categories are “Bright“, “Wedges“, “Black“, “Lovely Lace” and “Other“. On each shoe page, there is information about the brand, size, and hiring cost for 3 days or a week.
The customer chooses the shoe(s) that they would like to hire. Then the customer contacts me via phone or email. They tell me which shoe(s) they would like and they tell me their delivery address.
The customer pays a refundable deposit and a hiring charge to start the transaction. The customer transfers the money to my bank account via internet banking. Then the shoes are sent by courier to the customer. After the customer is finished hiring the shoes, the courier collects the shoe(s) and delivers them back to me. If the shoes are still in reasonable condition I return the customer their deposit via internet banking.
All the shoes have all been waterproofed so they are fine to wear in wet weather. Every pair of shoes is dry cleaned after use.
Do You Have Expansion Plans?
Yes, I have plans for expanding. I want to expand into women’s clothes, hats and jewellery. This is a test run so to speak!
How Long Have You Lived in Lane Cove?
I’ve lived in Lane Cove for 9 years now. I live in a street which is a short walk from Lane Cove Plaza.
Why Do You Like Living in Lane Cove?
I like the fact that Lane Cove is very close to the city and Chatswood. It’s also a short 15-minute drive to my church in Five Dock. It’s also only 10 minutes drive to my parents and my brother.
I love Lane Cove’s village atmosphere. Lane Cove has everything I need close to where I live: Woolworths, Vinnies (where I sometimes volunteer) and plenty of restaurants.
Thank you, John, for telling ITC about your business. Next time you need a pair of killer heels, hire don’t buy them.
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