The Beauties Behind Birdies: Bianca Gates & Marisa Sharkey June 29, 2016 We all know the importance of a great slipper. I mean look at Cinderella, she put on a glass slipper and had some hot prince search the kingdom for her. Even though we all know how unrealistic that is, especially if you’ve been immersed in the dating scene lately, I’m still down for a great pair of slippers! That’s why I was so excited when I found Birdies. Who knew that something so comfortable could be so chic! Keep reading to see how these two girl bosses started the company of my their dreams! WWN: You both had completely different jobs prior to creating this company, how was that shift over to creating a brand? Bianca Gates & Marisa Sharkey: We created Birdies to solve a problem we had both been facing for a long time. We’d spent countless hours searching for stylish, comfortable slippers to wear at home with no luck. We love to host family and friends at home, and found that we had no comfortable footwear to coordinate with our stylish outfits. We didn’t want to wear our uncomfortable filthy-bottomed outdoor shoes, but until now, that meant going barefoot, wearing socks or worse — wearing ugly, frumpy slippers. As we started to talk to other women, we quickly learned that we were not the only ones with this hole in our footwear wardrobes and jumped right in! We both had experience working with large brands on marketing and strategy. However, on the manufacturing side, we really had no idea of how and where to start, and figuring that out was the biggest shift for us. We bought and ripped apart a lot of slippers, sneakers and flats – including designer shoes (which PAINED us to do) to learn about the components and details of every different type of shoes. We watched video tutorials, talked to factory owners, industry execs, even shoe stores to better understand each step in the process. Ultimately, we pounded on every door we could and found a way to get our slippers made. As business owners, it’s exciting to know that we’ve created something that someone wants. Knowing that the product going off to your customer was created by us, and would not otherwise exist, provides a great deal of excitement and satisfaction day in and day out. WWN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs looking to start their own brand/company? BG & MS: Don’t be afraid to ask. When you’re starting a new business you have to ask for help—whether it’s been to host a trunk show to introduce Birdies to a friend’s network or to spend time teaching you the nuances of working with customs on imports. You don’t know it all and if you’re not comfortable asking for what you need, then you’re not going to get it off the ground. We’ve been overwhelmed with the sincere support we have received from so many people. We have a lot of people cheering us on! WWN: How did you come up with the name “Birdies”? BG & MS: Birdie is the consummate woman who wears our slippers. She is fun, chic and witty and loves to entertain. She effortlessly brings together family and friends but doesn’t take herself, or her entertaining, too seriously. We thought Birdie was a fun and classic name for a woman like this and used it as inspiration for our company. Who wouldn’t love to hang out with Birdie?! WWN: What are each of your favorite go-to Birdie styles? MS: I’m loving the Hummingbirds as we head into summer here in warm Sacramento. They go well with white jeans and a colorful summery top. We host backyard BBQs almost every weekend and these are my go-to slippers. They are perfect for running across the patio to check the grill and then back into the kitchen to pull out the condiments or more wine! BG: I have a thing for leopard prints. I think they are a fun and interesting neutral. As we head into the cold summer in San Francisco, I’m particularly drawn to the Starling with faux shearling. WWN: What does the future of Birdies look like? Any big plans? BG & MS: We are coming out with a new collection this fall which we are very excited about. Think rich, moody tones with tassels and modern animal prints. We are adding some glamorous options perfect for entertaining over the holidays. In general, there is a lot of opportunity in the historically sleepy slipper market. Women want to feel comfortable at home but don’t want to sacrifice looking and feeling great. We see women having multiple pairs of Birdies, giving them as gifts year round and living their best moments at home with stylish and comfortable slippers. Organizationally, we are excited to build a passionate, creative and smart team to continue to grow Birdies. WWN: Social media plays such a big role in developing a business these days. I’m wondering, how does it play into your brand and outreach? BG: As we continue to scale Birdies we want to be where the majority of people are spending a large part of their day. There has been a massive consumer shift to mobile the past few years and data shows us that one in every five mobile minutes are spent on Facebook and Instagram, so we know we have to be on those platforms to keep growing. We owe a lot of our early success to the scale and people based targeting that Facebook and Instagram offer. MS: It’s really exciting for us to see people sharing photos on social sites. Our customers are wearing Birdies at home, keeping them under their desks to stay comfy and stylish at work, and even wearing them on the set of television shows in between takes. We love interacting and following our favorite celebs, event planners, interior designers, and fashion editors, but seeing how our customers are using Birdies is the most exciting! For our own social channels, we try to create content that inspires our customers to live their best moments at home. WWN: When you have to go out and wear something other than Birdies, what are your shoes of choice? MS: Jimmy Choo nude d’Orsay pumps—they work with almost anything all year long! BG: I’m still obsessed with my Valentino Rockstuds! **For more about Birdies, you can also visit their website here!** xx B RELATED POSTSFall FloralsLadylike LeopardHappy Thanksgiving!