5 Minutes With Adeel Fiaz, Co-CEO, EGO Footwear

Mancunian footwear retailer EGO has been trading for just over two years, generating over £1 million in sales on average and receiving over 1 million visitors every month in that short time. With the recent re-launch of their website, the Retail Gazette caught up with co-CEO Adeel Fiaz for this week's '5 Minutes With' profile.

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Adeel Fiaz ego ceo

First and foremost, congrats on the re-launch of your website!

Thanks. We’re really proud of the new site and how it has taken shape, as it completely embodies the brand with the playful yet stylish direction we want to go in. Not only allowing the customer to shop amazing shoes but have a great customer experience, also.

Your new site coincides with the two-year anniversary of EGO. In what ways is the retailer different today?

We’ve progressed so far in terms of our product offering. The primary change I would say is that we’ve been able to tap into our customer and their wants and needs for the ever-changing fashion climate, allowing them to have that accessible fashion forward shoe-style but at a fraction of the cost.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Seeing the brand grown in such a short space of time and seeing celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Winnie Harlow wear the brand.

Explain the story behind EGO.

The brand was originally founded as a bricks-and-mortar store over 10 years ago in Liverpool and Manchester by my dad Mohammed Fiaz. I took over and launched the website in May 2015 with my cousin Usman Riaz after shopper interest on Instagram.

I started putting a few styles from the stores on Instagram and the orders started flying in. When Chloe Lewis posted a pair, we instantly got 10,000 more followers and email enquires.

What plans do you have for EGO in the next two years?

We plan to expand and develop the brand into more countries, such as Russia, France and Australia. We have started this with our new website and our new multi-currency feature. We also plan to start wholesale in the next few months.

What are your long-term plans for EGO?

We want to be the number one fast fashion footwear brand by continuing to grow the team and increase our investment in technology.

Tell us a bit about your role Co-CEO and Co-Founder at EGO.

I like to keep an interest in all areas of the business, but I am also buying director and spend a lot of time with my buying and design team, designing new styles that our customers will love.

In what ways can footwear retailers succeed in the UK‘s challenging retail market?

Footwear retailers can succeed in the current retail market by listening to their customers’ wants and needs. This can range from everyday footwear styles to fashion-forward shoes, creating the types of product that every consumer wants for any moment of their life.

How is EGO addressing some of the challenges facing the UK retail sector as a whole?

We strive ourselves on producing the best quality trend-led fashion at affordable price. With quick turnarounds and an oversaturated market, it can be hard to stand out, but with the right products and a strong team I feel we are tackling this challenge head on.

Tell us a bit about yourself personally and your background before EGO.

My family has always been in retail and owned stores so it is something I have grown up with and always had a passion for fashion footwear. Before starting online I took the family‘s business, growing it from one store to several stores selling footwear, bags and jewellery.

Why do you enjoy working in the retail sector?

I was born for this. I love fast fashion and enjoy running a fast fashion company.

I have always had an eye for key styles and what my customers would like even when buying for the stores. I also know timing is key and trend led items need a quick reaction and this is always something I have tried to achieve.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Making sure we‘re staying on top of the latest trends and styles can be challenging, particularly when fast fashion brands move quickly. But with a great team and a keen eye for what our customers want, I feel we overcome this challenge easily.

And the most rewarding?

Seeing that winning product on the customer, social media influencers or celebrities.

What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking on a career in retail?

Do your research and understand your customer and define a brand that represents them.

What would you say is the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate?

It is quite hard to plan for Brexit as we do not know the outcome of the negotiations yet. We‘re hoping for a soft Brexit, as trade with other EU members is a very important part of our business.

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