Shoe Mo is a shoe/sneaker laundry and services based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I met Jack through a friend of a friend 3 weeks after I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we had lunch in Bangsar and became friends since. One day after we finished our Sunday run in Lake Garden, I asked Jack where I can find a place to get my sneakers cleaned in KL. Jack seemed hesitate then the answer popped out from him, surprised me. “Malaysians don’t wash their shoes”.
Then I told Jack how I would send my sneakers to service to clean in Vietnam and how cheap that was. “Let’s do it” — Jack told me.
I lost counting how many Youtube videos and Google Know-hows we’ve watched on cleaning sneakers, we experimented on our own sneakers in our kitchens and bathrooms with a mess of cleaning products and tools, we even tried the washing machine and dryers (Trust me, don’t do that, ever) to realise that it is the most stupid thing you can do to your sneakers. We came up with a name Shoe Mo (Mo stands for Maestro, aka Master). Our facebook page was set up within one afternoon in November 2016 with a simple blue logo.
Here’s our first big order, a client sent us 11 pairs of his collection
And Jack experiment cleaning shoes in his bathroom.
At the time, we had no idea on how to price our service so we just put a random amount (RM10) to test out the market. The price was very minimal and we offered door to door pickup and delivery service included. Obviously that was a lost to us. The few first orders came from Jack’s friends. Eventually shoes started to come to us, suede, leather, nubuck, canvas, converse, walking shoes, slippers, even huge boots like Timberlands or expensive french-made leather shoes. To us that was a huge learning curves on how to operate a service and make it our most valuable asset. Our marketing was very minimal, I would go and listed Shoe Mo every market place I came across with, then we started to get orders from strangers, one guy from Mudah.my, others from Carousell, another one from Instagram, someone found us on Google, a recommended client from another client, and so the name of Shoe Mo started spreading.
From a few pairs per week to a few pairs per day, me and Jack would rush home after work to wash shoes and spent our weekend experimenting on new ideas and services (Jack’s house would smell like shoes when orders came in). We launched new service as sneaker repainting to solve the problem of the yellowing. We also learnt how to get the pricing right and eventually minimize the delivery work.
When we first put Shoe Mo out for online ads, I remembered waking up the morning after freaking out, messages flooded our facebook page inquiring for services. Our page traffic increased +1000% overnight, followed by the nonstop cleaning shoes days to fulfill the market needs. Me and Jack are also glad to have Frank on board, Frank used to be our client but soon he realised Shoe Mo’s potential so he asked to join us even though he’s still at school. Frank and Jack would run back and forth to get shoes cleaned and returned to clients on time. We made a fair bit of profit, we had good reviews and enormous support from our clients, we had partners reaching out to us for corporations. We decided to take Shoe Mo to the next level.
Our first workshop in Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya.
After 6 months of working hard and holding on, we officially get Shoe Mo first workshop open for walk-in customers.I feel extremely emotional on this turning point of our brain child. We could have quitted when the days get long and tiring, when we had to say no to hangouts and personal plans to settle the orders on time, we could have quitted when we kept losing money at the beginning, when our fingers were all dirty and stained, I could have quitted when I feel lonely and home-sick in a foreign country. We are no rich kids playing entrepreneurship. We struggle everyday to balance our full time work and cleaning shoes, at the same time bootstrapping Shoe Mo, and make it a real sustainable business.
This milestone does not only marks the official launch of Shoe Mo, it’s the beginning of a new, habit changing service to the young modern generation and we proud to be one of the very first trendsetters in town. Shoe Mo team is eager to improve and innovate ourselves to bring the best service as we could.
I’d like dedicate this small success to my boyfriend, Andrik, who has been unconditionally supportive despite my busy schedule and short temper.
My great gratitude to Jack, Shoe Mo co-founder for taking this journey with me. And Andrik my boyfriend who has helped to set a smooth sail for Shoe Mo.
My deepest thanks to Frank, Ammar for being with us through the early days.
To my best friend, Cheryl, my supporting pillar and sharing shoulders.
To friends and family back home.