When college roommates Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson graduated from Harvard in 2014, they were both lined up to start corporate jobs in New York City. Instead, the friends decided to put those careers on hold and start a lifestyle brand together. On Friday, Margaux launched as a direct-to consumer lifestyle brand starting with a single product: the ballet flat.
Margaux offers both standard and custom-fit flats in 14 colors. For custom orders, shoppers can either follow instructions on the site and take measurements with their own tape measurers, or order a complimentary fitting kit and informational booklet. There are four measurements per foot, and each shoe doesn't have to be the same size. Custom orders take less than two weeks to make and the price is the same as the standard style: $195.
"We wanted to create something that merged both a timeless aesthetic and celebrated classic design and was also innovative," Pierson says of the concept behind Margaux.
Ballet flats have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past decade. Just look at Tory Burch's ultra successful Reva style, a soft elastic version with a metal logo on the toe, which launched in 2006 and has sold more than 5 million pairs to date. Ballet flats' popularity has waned in the past couple of years as interest in other comfortable flat styles, particularly sneakers, has grown. According to retail analytics firm Editd, there are currently 5,289 ballet flat styles for sale online, compared to 46,000 pairs of sneakers. Ballet flats take an average of 89 days to sell out, versus 73 days for sneakers.
But the ballet flat remains a classic, and Margaux's founders say the structured design sets theirs apart from others on the market. These are not the kind of flexible pairs you can fold up and shove in a bag after walking to an event. "It's no longer that shoe that takes you were you want to go and then you switch into you heels," says Buckley. "It's a shoe that you can wear all day and sort of arrive in."
Margaux's leather and suede comes from Italy and all the components are made in Spain. Standard-size shoes are also finished in Spain, while custom-size orders are finished in New York to ensure quick turnaround time.
The ballet flat is just the beginning for Margaux. Pierson and Buckley say they plan to add new colors, patterns and silhouettes, in addition to new categories. "[We want to] really build out a lifestyle brand, from shoes to other products, that equip the modern woman with everything she needs," says Buckley.
See Margaux's debut lookbook below.