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Schuhhersteller SOFTCLOX Gründerin Cristina Mühle

"I have learned to listen to my instincts when making business decisions" - SOFTCLOX founder Cristina Mühle in an interview about life as a shoe manufacturer:

When Cristina Mühle makes professional decisions as a founder, she listens to her gut feeling. In an interview she tells us what it is like to found a company as a woman and mother and to establish herself in the highly competitive shoe market with an innovation.

Dear Cristina, why wooden shoes?

Ich hatte als Kind meine Holzklapperl – das einmalige Tragegefühl hat mich nie ganz losgelassen. Vor 13 Jahren beschloss ich, eine schicke, leichte und salonfähige Version davon zu entwickeln: Unser SOFTCLOX, die Schuhe mit biegsamer Holzsohle.

Who had the idea for the clou with the flexible sole?

Die Idee entwickelte ich zusammen mit einem befreundeten Schuhdesigner und einem österreichischen Schuhhersteller für Trachtenschuhe. Mit viel Herzblut und geballtem Schuh-Know-How haben wir gemeinsam den Grundstein für die Schuhmarke SOFTCLOX gelegt.

Your company SOFTCLOX has been around for over 13 years. You started almost simultaneously with the birth of your daughter. How did it work out to start as a new mom?

Mit meiner Firma und meiner Tochter sind quasi zwei „Kinder“ auf einmal auf die Welt gekommen. In der Anfangsphase war es stressig, aber zum Glück hatte ich ein tolles Netzwerk aus Freunden und Familie an meiner Seite, die mich unterstützt haben, wo sie konnten.

Your first step on the way to your own label?

The most important thing for me was to find reliable and competent partners right from the start who wanted to go this new way out of conviction with me.

What did you learn from building your shoe brand SOFTCLOX? What were you not prepared for?

I learned to listen and trust my gut feeling when making business decisions! After a good start, I was surprised to have to do some persuasive work so that the retailer trade doesn't perceive us as a current, fashionable short-lived phenomenon in the industry.

Do you design all your shoe models yourself?

The design is teamwork in all collections. Many different ideas, colours and shapes flow into the design. As a manufacturer, we want to make as many women as possible happy with SOFTCLOX. In the end, together with my head of design Andreas Klautzsch and my production partner Thomas Huber, I have to agree on a selection for the new collection.

What inspires you?

I am a real fashion extractor! I look everywhere for exciting themes and materials, shake it well in my head and filter it for usable elements for my brand SOFTCLOX.

How many new models are there per year?

In summer we develop around 150 new, fashionable variants, in autumn and winter there are another 80.

How big is your team?

Im Münchner Büro sind wir 20 und in der österreichischen Produktionsstätte haben wir rund 100 Mitarbeiter.

Are there any mothers among them?

Many even! I am a big fan of my team. The mothers are all well organized, do a great service for our customers, are battle tested and go to work with sovereignty - SOFTCLOX can only profit from that.

What significance does social media have for your company?

Social media is very important for us, and the trend is rising. We are mainly active on Facebook, also internationally, and have been using Instagram since 2016. For three years now, we have been working increasingly with influencers, whom we see as ambassadors for our unique shoes. Today, inspiration takes place online. Since 2019, SOFTCLOX lovers have also been able to find new, surprising and useful things here on our own shoe blog.

Would you start a company today? Which tip can you give?

Ich würde jederzeit wieder gründen! Wer für seine Idee brennt, sollte loslegen – sofort. Holt euch möglichst schnell Partner ins Boot – ihr müsst keinesfalls alles können und alleine machen.

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