News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Startup: Willi Footwear

Startup Willi Footwear have burst onto the Australian fashion scene in a big way attracting a host of celebrity endorsements and cult following off the bat. They specialise in thongs, flip flops, sandals and … Jandals [can’t think of an NZ joke right now]

“Whatever you call them, everyone has a pair” says founder Brad Munro, “We have given this Aussie icon a stylish overhaul with particular attention to several key features, separating our thongs from what is currently available on the market.”

The name Willi is an acronym for the companies message “Why Ignore Life? Live it!” – “We try not to take ourselves too seriously and always remember to get involved and have some fun, we hope the world becomes a less serious place when people are wearing Willi thongs” says Munro.

A lot of research has been placed upon the materials and features of this new breed of Aussie thong, with a clear focus on not only looking great but providing optimal comfort and safety for the wearer. Munro was inspired to start Willi after travelling abroad and becoming disenchanted with the current offerings on the market. And he has big goals – setting his sites on the same demographic as the massive Haviana brand [18-35 year olds] – not impossible though given his increasing influence within the surf, sport and skate community. Current Ambassadors of the brand include Rugby League Players, Pro Body Boarders, Aussie Rules Players, Olympians, Actors and Entertainers, The Bondi Lifeguards and it’s growing!

Munro is another fine example of a young entrepreneur that has recently entered the retail space that “gets” social media and how to use it correctly to attract attention and convert that into sales. Even just by using 1 of his ambassadors as an example – Lifeguard Maxi, from Bondi Rescue has over 12,000 twitter followers, meaning every pic tweeted wearing the product or endorsement of the product reaches an audience much more engaged than that of more traditional types of retail marketing strategies.

I also like the fact these guys are Australians making an Aussie product – time for me to trade in those Haviana’s for a new pair of Blue Steel’s I think.



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