Inventive business graduate steps forward

Marketing graduate Michelle Noordink's Conf3ss Shoes business has gone global.
Marketing graduate Michelle Noordink's Conf3ss Shoes business has gone global.

While the marketing landscape has evolved dramatically since Michelle Noordink graduated from Griffith University, the core principles of marketing that she learned in a Gold Coast classroom are playing an important and influential part in the progress of her innovative business venture.

Her high-fashion footwear concept has already captured the imagination of reviewers at high fashion publications like Cleo and Cosmopolitan who are describing her invention as revolutionary, a hot product and ‘the best concept we’ve seen in the shoe industry’.

Michelle launched Conf3ss Shoes last December, an online business selling a range of high-fashion shoes with interchangeable straps.

Her simple formula incorporates four styles of shoes (flat, mid-wedge, high-wedge and platform stiletto) in two colours, and up to 30 coloured straps and T-bars that can be interchanged to suit the occasion and the outfit.

“With just one pair of shoes and 30 coloured straps, you can have 27,000 different combinations,” Michelle says.

The idea was born at a Gold Coast lunch one day when Michelle, who has always loved shoes, was observing the footwear on show. “I noticed all the women were basically wearing the same kind of shoe. The only difference was the height of the shoe and the colours of the straps.”

From there a business idea was brought to life with the support of an entrepreneur friend who advised her that this idea was the one Michelle should run with. “My dad was always an ideas man and from an early stage I got that creative streak. I always wanted to invent something.”

Michelle.weblargeMichelle’s invention has caught the imagination of an online audience, with social media platform Instagram and its selfies culture yielding an unexpected but exciting market for her product.

Michelle says her Griffith degree stood to her as she carried out the initial market testing of her product on Australian consumers. In April sheannounced that Conf3ss Shoes was set to go global with international distribution.

“I’m continuously testing different markets through tools like Google analytics and Big Commerce,” she says. “I’m constantly researching and testing and finding out where my customers come from, where they’ve found out about the product, and how they make their purchases.”

She says this kind of groundwork has yielded interesting and unexpected information about the market for her product, not least the age range of current and likely customers.

Michelle, who has previously lived in Japan and the US, has also worked as a graphic designer and ran an interior design business that she has set aside with the success of Conf3ss Shoes.

Check out the Conf3ss Shoes website