It’s hard to believe that we’re celebrating our 1-year anniversary today! It’s been a whirlwind year full of ups and downs, and most importantly a lot of learnings.
When we launched LANE EIGHT, we were the entirety of the team. Two founders trying to make it all work. Those first couple of months were hectic to say the least. We were managing orders, working on future colorways, building relationships, and getting to grips with the realities of running a brand new start-up. We knew we wanted to keep our team tight and focused, and through this time, we engaged the teams at MISSBISH and MAEKAN who were an incredible help. However, we quickly realised that we needed to build our internal team. We brought on board our Head of Operations, Gillian and our Head of Marketing, Jordana — and that’s when we really started to hit our stride.
We’d love to say it’s been smooth sailing ever since but as with any start-up, the challenges (and opportunities) never end.
Our biggest challenge had to do with our business model and subsequent price change. From day one our aim has been to create great shoes for everyone. But behind the scenes we’d been playing a game of tug-of-war between our wholesale and our direct-to-consumer businesses. As a new business looking to get our brand out into the world, the temptations of wholesale took our attention for some time. But in order to work with wholesale margins, we had to price our shoes higher than we would have liked. We always felt that the best way to offer value to our fans was by selling our shoes to them direct-to-consumer.
We were at a crossroads.
Ultimately, we decided that we wanted to offer our fans the best possible value while retaining full control of our customer experience. At the time, the shift to pure direct-to-consumer felt like a bit of a gamble as we walked away from all of the wholesale deals we had on the table; but we felt confident that we were making this decision for the right reasons.
Fast forward to today, a lot has changed and we never could have imagined we’d get here when we started building LANE EIGHT. We’ve got a lot of exciting new colorways launching over the next 12 months, as well as a new model! More importantly, we’re looking at how we can become a better company. We’re slowly introducing new materials and practices that are going to make our shoes less impactful on the planet, and we’re taking a holistic look at our business to see how we can improve.
At the same time, we’re working on a new office and retail space to accommodate our growing team, to give our fans in Hong Kong a space to try on a pair of LANE EIGHTs and to meet the team. We don’t want to give away all of our surprises just yet but needless to say, we’re very excited to open our first permanent retail space!
We don’t know what year 2 has in store for us, but we do know that we’ll continue to make the most versatile performance shoes in the world. And if you’re in Hong Kong, don’t forget to stop by our new space and say ‘hello’ later this year!
James and Josh