Describe your brand building strategy in one sentence.
Cross: Word of mouth!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
Cross: To be steadfast in your core values as a brand and a human being, but flexible in your day-to-day when it comes to process, technology, and strategy. It's important to have a moral compass and overall vision, but how you get there might change. Oh, and it's all about who you know! At least in this industry.
Conti: Find you a badass co-founder.
What’s one aspect of your job that you knew nothing about? How did you adapt?
Cross: Wow...so many things. I didn't know much about photography and I am totally self-taught. A lot of people don't know this but aside from @shoesof Huston and I have a content agency called SO/Media and we create white label content for footwear and fashion brands. So I had to figure out a lot of things from a content production side, from sourcing talent to negotiating payment terms. I would say on a monthly basis I am teaching myself new things—a common theme in my life: "I don't know but I'll figure it out."
Conti: Videography—from story-boarding to shooting and post-production/editing. As Lexi mentioned, we create content for other brands and a lot of times video is a part of that. One of the first jobs we ever did had a video portion to it and at that time I was still very new to it all but we figured it out and got the job done. These days you can really teach yourself anything if you’re dedicated enough and stick with it. I spend a lot of hours on Google and YouTube teaching myself new tricks!
Tell us about the time in your career when you felt the most “stuck.”
Cross: Trying to figure out how much to charge for things. That is still a constant struggle for me personally. I suffer from 'imposter syndrome' like a lot of women and determining your worth and then how to attach a $ can feel pretty paralyzing at times. I am working on it! Huston helps!
Conti: This was before ShoesOf. My first job out of college was in finance as an analyst for a massive Fortune 50 company. I wore a suit and tie every day and spent my days in front of two monitors with stacks of files next to me generating reports over and over again. I did well, got promoted, made good money but I not only felt out of place in that job, I felt I had to stick it out for a year or two in order to build my resume. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
What do you consider your greatest failure to date? What did it teach you?
Cross: I don't mean to sound full of myself but I really can't pinpoint any failures. I do the best I can to make the right decisions day-to-day and if things don't work out as I planned or something falls through I don't consider it a failure, I consider it a lesson and I move on and learn from it.
Conti: I’m with Lex. I don’t believe in failure—everything is a learning lesson and an opportunity for growth. Failure is never trying in the first place. Shoot your shot!