Purchase Australian: Port Melbourne enterprise, Alias Mae, makes its mark as a number one native footwear model.

Subsequent yr marks a decade in enterprise for Melbourne footwear model, Alias Mae, however relating to its founder, Tom Kirkhope, his shoemaking journey extends far past that.

The enterprise proprietor and designer has at all times had a deep appreciation for the business, spending his childhood at his father’s footwear manufacturing unit in Fairfield. “I nonetheless keep in mind the odor of leather-based and all of the equipment,” mentioned Mr Kirkhope. “As a child, it was fairly an interesting place to develop up.”

After conceding a DJ’ing profession wasn’t for him, Mr Kirkhope embraced his roots, pursuing footwear in probably the

most unconventional circumstances. “Twenty years in the past, I put the data down and flew myself to China, the place I dormed and labored in a large-scale shoemaking manufacturing unit,” mentioned the enterprise proprietor.

Port Melbourne-based shoe brand, Alias Mae, has grown to become one of Australia's leading footwear brands since launching in 2011. Picture: Alex Coppel.
media_cameraPort Melbourne-based shoe model, Alias Mae, has grown to grow to be one in all Australia’s main footwear manufacturers since launching in 2011. Image: Alex Coppel.

The hands-on strategy concerned gruelling work weeks of 105 hours or extra, however it additionally taught Mr Kirkhope essential expertise in shoe design, fuelling his devotion for making a mark in footwear.

“I do adore the footwear business; it’s an previous business that requires an entire lot of laborious work,” mentioned the enterprise proprietor. “A shoe designer actually has to know what they’re speaking about relating to manufacturing and engineering, however once they do, there’s some actually superb folks within the area.”

With retailers hit laborious by the pandemic, this yr has proved a problem for the Port Melbourne primarily based enterprise. “We had been gearing up for a giant winter season with all of our product manufactured and prepared for distribution, then stockists needed to shut their doorways,” mentioned the enterprise proprietor.

Due to its on-line presence, Alias Mae was in a position to pivot extra inventory via gross sales and reductions. “Ultimately, we completed the season fairly cleanly, however like another business – notably vogue – it’s been powerful,” mentioned Mr Kirkhope. “Usually presently of the yr, 80 per cent of gross sales are pushed by end-of-year celebrations and occasions.”

Because the retail sector recovers, Mr Kirkhope is completely satisfied to see rising assist for native manufacturers. “The footwear business may be very small right here and being a privately-owned, proudly Australian model, it’s nice to see persons are valuing that,” mentioned the enterprise proprietor.

“When constructing a enterprise in Australia, there’s a variety of hoops to leap via, however I’ve bought nice assist and I take into account myself very fortunate.”


Buy Australian is a News Corp Initiative – in partnership with Woolworths and Australian Made Campaign and supported by Red Energy – to help put money back in to our economy by supporting our producers, makers and manufacturers.
media_cameraPurchase Australian is a Information Corp Initiative – in partnership with Woolworths and Australian Made Marketing campaign and supported by Purple Power – to assist put a reimbursement in to our financial system by supporting our producers, makers and producers.

Initially printed as Native footwear model nears a decade in enterprise

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