Causeways to Conquer the Big Apple

A Quebec shoe retailer setting out to conquer New York? I would say it’s cheeky, but in this case, let’s say that the conquerors are going to compete against a few sizes!

Myriam and Romy Belzile-Maguire launched Maguire six years ago in Montreal with the idea of ​​creating a small revolution in footwear. They have eliminated the intermediaries between the design, the factories and the customer to offer luxury at accessible and transparent prices. Costs and manufacturing locations in Europe and Turkey: everything is revealed. In store, the advisers are not paid on commission, in order to ensure a customer experience without pressure. And you can just as well buy online, wherever you are.

“If we operated in the traditional way in the shoe industry, we would sell for twice the price we offer our customers,” explains Myriam, a designer who studied footwear in London and worked for six years at Aldo. .

After this experience, she packed up for Cordwainers Technical College, following in the footsteps of famous designer Jimmy Choo.

Myriam and her sister started Maguire with $15,000 in the bank, enough to pay to make a model of shoes in two colors. It was less than a microcollection! But beauty, quality, hard work, determination and a solid go-to-market strategy drove the project forward.

The brand eventually found success in Montreal and then Toronto, although twice the sisters ran out of cash – entrepreneurship is a risky game. The pandemic has dampened consumption in the fashion sector. So to compensate, Maguire opened up online sales to the US market.

Today, 20% of sales are made outside Quebec.

The dream is to build large-scale success and New York is seen as the gateway to increasing brand awareness. The health crisis has temporarily melted the price of rents, so much so that Maguire, helped by Investissement Québec, has found the means to open soon in the NoLita district, on Elizabeth Street, in the area where emerging designers settle.

“We are in a patient model, specifies Romy, head of marketing and operations. Direct selling means that we take care of everything, from the design to the sale to the customer. »

The model is demanding, it requires time to raise the foundations of the company, but now that it is done, the two young women are determined to follow the path of growth.

Myriam’s experience in footwear makes it possible to avoid mistakes along the way. She had the chance to work close to Aldo Bensadoun and to learn from him. His biggest lesson? The quality of the relationships it maintains with shoe manufacturers.

“He is a very nice person and I saw thanks to him that we can move forward with kindness”, says the one who took two weeks before realizing that the gentleman had come to ask her to draw her ideas. of shoes on his first day at Aldo was none other than the founder!

Myriam had no more contact with him after his departure from the Montreal-based multinational, but it’s a safe bet that his former boss would be proud of his success in a different market segment.

Profile of Myriam and Romy Belzile-Maguire

  • Positions: co-founders
  • Age : 37 and 34 years old
  • Training: Industrial design, University of Montreal, Public communications Université Laval
  • Year of foundation: 2016
  • Founders: Myriam and Romy Belzile-Maguire
  • Location of head office: Montreal
  • Activity area : Fashion
  • Number of employees : 14

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