Maguire: All About Fair Pricing and Brand Transparency
Myriam and Romy Belzile-Maguire’s Story
Myriam's sister, Romy, joined the adventure from the start to help her with marketing and operations. Five years later, the two entrepreneurs are still a team and can thank their complementarity for the success of their business.
CREATE SUSTAINABLE PARTNERSHIPS
If Myriam's career has taught her anything, it's that shoe manufacturers work with a wide range of brands, from the most affordable to the most luxurious. "Marketing is what makes people willing to spend more," she says. She quickly realized that few people knew where their shoes came from or what kind of factories they were made in. Early on, Maguire's quest became to find factories with whom to build trust. To this day, Romy says she is amazed at the strength of the bonds they have created.
"The better your relationships, the better your products. For us, manufacturers are not suppliers, they are partners.”
The Belzile-Maguire sisters give us the example of a small factory of 12 workers that is behind much of the production of their winter boots. Since working with Maguire, the factory has better credit at the bank and is assured of a steady income. Romy says it's important to "share the stories of the factories and their people, because real human beings make the products.” That’s why the brand's website shares all kinds of information related to the factories it works with.
BE TRANSPARENT WITH CUSTOMERS
Maguire's co-founders are always trying to find the right balance in their business venture. Factory workers deserve decent wages, Maguire employees need good working conditions and customers want to spend money according to their budget. The company wants to go beyond good marketing.
The notion of fair pricing allows Maguire to stand out from the crowd. Indeed, the entrepreneurs noted that "transparency is a strong differentiator.” And how do they integrate it into their business model? They reveal to their customers the production costs behind each product. When people have all this information in hand, they can make an informed choice.
Romy adds that transparency also involves educating the masses about the fashion industry. On Maguire's social media, we will see, for example, how shoes are made and pictures taken in the factories. If there’s a problem with a product, they will explain the reasons behind it. Romy recounts that, when she first joined the company, there were so many things that fascinated her. She realized that as a consumer, there was a lot of information that she didn't have access to.
For all these reasons, the Belzile-Maguire sisters make sure they remain faithful to their commitment to transparency, with great rigor and discipline.
MAKE YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE STAND OUT
Maguire is known for its fair prices, but also for its reinvented retail experience. The entrepreneurs observed that, from one shoe store to another, the experience is often very similar and not particularly pleasant. The boxes pile up, the wait for a fitting is long. That's why they are proud to have implemented the closet concept in their store. "Each boutique has a large closet in which we find the popular styles of the season in all sizes, allowing people to try on as many shoes as possible, in an efficient manner," they explain. They add that their customers can come to the store to try on shoes and then order online. They can also do the opposite: browse online, then buy in-store. There is no pressure selling: the important thing is to find the right shoe for you.
This closet concept can be found in the brand’s three stores in Montreal, Toronto and New York. The entrepreneurs are currently looking for the next city in which they can implement it. To do so, they are analyzing where their highest sales are coming from. It's an exciting time for Maguire, because the company is "moving out of the start-up phase and into the medium-sized company stage.” Both sisters say they have their heads full, but are confident they have the right people around them to grow their business.
"We've got everything in place, so now we just need to reap the rewards, optimize and have fun!”
THE COMPANY IN NUMBERS
3 stores in Montréal, Toronto and New York City
50% increase in sales turnover per year
100-120 SKUs available per year
Visit Maguire's website to learn more about its wide range of quality shoes at a fair price.