By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager
This week we sat down with Jess Gavigan AKA "Juice Gee" a London-based "fashionpreneur" who has passion for streetwear and a soft spot for trainers. Her unique online store SFBK (Small Feet Big Kicks) sells only trainer shoes and targets sneakerheads with smaller feet. With the shoe-space being ever dominated by the likes of Amazon and Zappos, we wanted to know how Juice Gee's been able to carve out her own piece of the pie.
Where does your love for shoes come from and how did you get into the kick game?
I got into the kick game through my bf at the time (2007) and now my best friend. He was mad into kicks and had some of the sickest ones i'd ever seen.. so it spurred from there really!
You’ve got a strong following on Instagram and your account has been featured on several websites. Would you say Instagram is your main vehicle for business?
A lot of my work/business started actually through me being known through Small Feet Big Kicks - as I was featured on an IKEA advert a few years back relating to SFBK and how many kicks I had.
Instagram has only become serious for me in the last couple of years, in which time I started a blog with my friend - "The Unisex Mode." So really the blog and the website are my primary means of business, Instagram comes after.
Was IG (instagram) always the goal?
IG was never really my "goal" I never saw it as a business opportunity until about a year ago - I was just obsessed with taking photos of friends and stuff I did. I wouldn't say it's my goal, as IG is a fad - it will come and go, and changes IG makes to the app will make it more difficult for people to use it as a means of business. It's nice to have a strong following - and even more rewarding when I meet people in real life that have followed my journey from Tumblr to Instagram to the blog.
How does your personal IG account tie into your shop “Small Feet Big Kicks”?
I occasionally post images of new kicks we have on SFBK, or any pictures I take of my own kicks as a 'crepcheck' picture i'll occasionally upload to SFBK.
It doesn’t get more niche than smaller shoe sizes, trainers only, and for females only. What are some of the positives and/or challenges of this hyper-niche approach?
The main positive is it makes people feel like they have somewhere they belong and can have something they are a part of, like a club. It's the one stop shop for cool or one off kicks that you can't necessarily find on the high street.
We started off labeling it as something purely for females - but actually through selling at Crepe City for so many years we have many male customers - from boys to smaller footed males.
There are so many shops that cater for males and male sizes, so we wanted to create something different - to ease the hassle for people that find it hard to get decent kicks in small sizes!
It also allows us to be the go to for many women in the sneaker scene - for example we are often called on to sell at trainer events all over Europe to be their only female sneaker seller, which is nice that there is that outreach.
On a personal note - having my name affiliated to SFBK also allows me to be the go to for many sportswear brands as a UK female sneakerhead representative. :)
Who are your fashion icons?
I love the old hip hop unisex styles of Gwen Stefani and TLC etc but when I look at who inspires me on the daily I look to people around me and bloggers that inspire me. Vashtie, Mercedes Benson, Milocuki, Christina Paik - girls who like to dress comfortably and aren't afraid to just wear menswear like me!
What’s your favorite pair of shoes that you own?
I hate this question!! It's too hard! AM97 Valentine, AM95 Redwood Nike Free Woven Inneva
There’s a big problem with counterfeit shoes in the sneaker business. How do you combat this, and how do you assure your customers you’re the real deal?
I only buy from trusted shops or people i've been buying from for years. Having been in the sneaker scene for many years now, I can pretty much tell a fake shoe (or so i hope! haha) - but also as a brand we have been established for 5 years now - and we've never encountered an issue with fake goods! (touch wood!)
How would you advise other "lifestyle brands” to grow their following/influence in the marketplace?
Stick to what you know, and be you. Don't ever try to be someone else. Don't try to preach too much to people - be real!
How do you source your kicks and what makes a "good sneaker” in your opinion?
That would be telling!! Wouldn't want to give away all my good spots! A good sneaker.. nothing too crazy like additional straps or attachments.. good colours.. and premium materials.
How to Keep Up with Juice Gee