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Claire Russell of Shudoo on starting an online business

Launched in 2003 as Ugs & Kisses the company became synonymous as a retailer for UGG Australia and other sheepskin brands. Re-branded as Shudoo in May 2008 and a brand new website on the way, things are looking up for Shudoo’s co-founder Claire Russell.

Claire, how did the business start, why UGG boots?
Rob, my husband is Australian and he introduced me to UGG boots.

It was actually his idea to start importing them from Oz. I have to say, when I first saw them I didn’t really see the attraction…until I tried them on and I have never been without them since.

We began selling them at a market stall which seemed to do quite well, so we decided to enter the world of e-commerce.

What was your biggest challenge in starting an online business?
Probably starting out in a business that I knew little about. I love shoes and have strong ideas about what I think will and won’t work. It was all completely new to me, and to Rob.

Neither of us had an e-commerce background so there was a lot to learn, we just spent many late nights writing copy and looking at designs, until we came up with something that we thought would work.

How does it feel to have seen the company go from a home business to now having a separate warehouse and head office?
It’s extremely satisfying knowing that you have grown a business from scratch, out of your own living room. It’s nice to have a story - so far a successful one. And we are looking forward to growing further and the launch of the new site.

A new website is due to launch this year, do you feel this will give you more opportunity to showcase the range of brands?
Definitely, it’s very exciting.

We are looking to increase our brand range and the new website will allow us to do this, and showcase our products far more effectively than our current site.
It will also allow more customer benefits such as track and trace on orders so our customers can see their order status.

Which Shudoo product can’t you live without?
My Jumbuck Cavalry boots, they’re gorgeous!

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