So normal is the Zapato Feroz project that the first time they applied to Lanzadera they were not admitted. Today they do not stop receiving warnings about the risk of dying of success but they know that this will not happen to them. They have everything under control.
It has a fairytale name, Fierce Shoe , and the thing that its founders least wanted was to create a company that today sells 200,000 pairs of footwear a year and invoices 6 million euros a year.
The idea arose from the personal project of a married couple determined to reconcile professional activity with the care of Roc, their son, although for this Héctor Nebot and Laura García Perdomo had to sacrifice some succulent salaries, as a Telecommunications engineer, the first, and as one of the most sought-after shoe designers in Europe, the second. As such, one of the things that worried Laura García the most was to find shoes that would adapt well to her son’s foot from the first steps, not the other way around. She didn’t find them, so she set out to create them herself.
He got down to work until he came up with a design for children’s footwear that respects the foot, that is: with a wide toe box, a thin and flexible sole and so light that the child feels as if he were barefoot. To meet all the expectations of the project, time was needed. To do this they had to get the models to like them and for there to be someone willing to buy them, not many, that both Laura and Héctor were satisfied with billing the amount equivalent to a salary of between 1,500 and 2,000 euros per month per head that they gave them to live in Paternal (Valencia).
“We don’t need a lot of money to be happy. We are among those who appreciate living and enjoying with the child, accompanying him to school, walking with him through the mountains… We have that philosophy of life and, to achieve that, more than money, we need time, something that I lacked before because it happened to me almost the whole year traveling”, says Laura García.
The fact is that the designer began to share the product she had created for her son with other mothers and it didn’t take long for her to start receiving orders. The first to leave the job was Nebot, who was in charge of designing the website and articulating the ecommerce that they launched in 2016. They thought about it a little more with the 200,000 euros a year that Laura could earn as a designer, until they verified that the business was growing organically, without having to invest a euro in advertising or make a lot of noise.
Even so, it was not until 2019 when they were encouraged to expand the offer and make the leap to the design and sale of footwear for adults. With this, that same year they managed to reach a turnover of 250.00 euros. It wasn’t bad, but they sensed that they could bill much more. “We knew a lot about footwear and very little about business.”
The ‘mileurista’ speech that did not convince in Lanzadera
In order to make up for their shortcomings as entrepreneurs, they applied to join Zapato Feroz in the Lanzadera acceleration program . They didn’t move a comma from their original speech. What need was there to scale the project; Why did they have to grow fast, what was the point of investing in online marketing if they had never needed it, why and why would they have to seek external financing when their expectations were satisfied with their own sales…
Neither this apparent lack of ambition nor García and Nebot’s refusal to dedicate themselves to the business full-time convinced those responsible for Lanzadera of the viability of the project. They had to wait for the second attempt, and both founders to ‘ full time ‘, to be admitted in May 2022.
In 2020, Zapato Feroz went on to bill one million euros and, a year later, they were around 6 million, a subject that Laura García does not like to talk about much, not because she wants to hide anything, but because it bothers her that whenever she they interview titling with billing, when that was not the main objective.
Currently, the company sells -mostly in the online channel- around 200,000 pairs of footwear a year with sizes ranging from 19 to 46 and which are manufactured in a Portuguese factory that works exclusively for them. Spain is its main market, followed by France. And although Zapato Feroz is no longer the “mini-project” born “as a hobby” that the CEO talks about, both resist losing their essence on the road to success.
Laura García, CEO of Fierce Shoe
When you know you play white
“We are a conscious company. We don’t want to sell anything that we wouldn’t put on our son’s feet or on our own. Nor do we want to have employees – there are now 8 in the company – who receive a different treatment than we would like them to treat us. We think that before is not better”, says Laura García.
As a professional chess player, there are other things this CEO knows. The first is that an individual move does not determine the success of a game if there is no plan. The second is that playing always reacting to the opponent’s movement is not a good strategy either. And the third is that it is White who starts a game and, as such, always plays with an advantage.
Translated all this to the business, it means three other things. First: that the fact that Zapato Feroz goes for 6 million billings is not synonymous with success for Laura García, but rather a move within a plan that will culminate “the day the company rolls alone and Héctor and I stop being men orchestra and we can quietly go on vacation with Roc”.
Secondly: that he is not afraid of similar projects arising and taking the lead because his commitment is to the continuous improvement of product quality and top customer service. Third: that they were the first, so they have to do very badly for Black to win. So, when Laura García is warned of the risk of dying from success with the project, now in the escalation phase, she replies firmly: “That’s not going to happen to us. Everything is under control”.