To the Hobes community,
Today we’re announcing a big change here at Hobes - at the end of this month, the business will be shutting its doors and the brand will be taking a well-deserved break. It’s a decision that has been very difficult to make, though it's been a transition I've been working through for a little while. Whilst I have typically shied away from the founder spotlight, it feels right to share with you a little of the story behind this choice. I know many of you have been with Hobes since the start, and without you, the brand would not have grown into the business it is today.
In 2010 I launched Hobes with 50 pairs of handmade shoes in my spare bedroom, and to be honest, no idea what I was getting myself into. My background was not in fashion, my real love was for brands, developing, shaping and building brands. A few years into my career I decided it was time to establish a brand of my own. I had a gap in my wardrobe for lightweight, soft, footwear basics, timeless essentials to fit my classic and simple personal style. I was after a shoe that was a little more tomboy than a ballet flat, but more refined than a sneaker. I saw an opportunity in the market for this and the idea for Hobes was born very quickly. Launching a direct-to-consumer footwear brand was a little crazy back then and I remember a lot of surprised faces when I announced what I was doing. For the first couple of years, I was the ‘design team', the ‘marketing team’, the ‘fulfilment team’, the ‘customer service team’, etc, etc, all the roles you take on as founder of a small business. In 2013 Anna (now the Hobes General Manager) came along and joined me and from there the team grew. Early the following year I trialled a move to New York to test the appetite for the brand in the states. Within weeks I realised there was a real opportunity and I moved permanently later that year. Working across both the US / Aus time zones, establishing a US company, building the Hobes brand internationally, and manoeuvring life in New York was the state of things for the next 6 years.
The juggling act of these years was a wild, intense and at times truly insane thing for one person to take on. And as the crazy travel, work and life schedule ensued, the intensity began to take a toll on my health. It was at this time that I really understood I needed a change, and I also recognised my passion for the industry Hobes operates in had started to fade. So in 2019 I started pulling back from the business whilst the team, with Anna at the helm, continued to run things. Early March last year saw an unplanned quick trip back to Australia turn into something much longer, and the changes that 2020 brought allowed me to really reflect on what I wanted, and what I wanted for Hobes. I knew that Hobes needed change, and knowing that my future lay elsewhere, I decided to explore a potential sale of the business.
Early this year I was fortunate to meet a wonderful and highly experienced professional in this area who helped guide me through the sale preparation process and facilitated introductions to interested buyers. Considering a sale of the business was never something that really sat comfortably with me though. How could I be sure the brand would be looked after, respected, and that the vision of Hobes and the values it represents would be carried forward? How could I be confident that the relationships built over a decade of partnership with our customers, suppliers and stakeholders would be maintained with respect and integrity? How could I ensure the brand would not be degraded or the Hobes name diluted? The answer to all of these questions very soon became clear - it was not possible. I started Hobes with one clear goal in mind, to develop a brand that I was proud of. A brand that had integrity, an independent brand that didn’t follow the pack, that stayed true to its values and never wavered. And in coming up against the option of proceeding to sell the business, or to ensure the legacy of the brand - well, there really was never a question at all.
So it is not with a heavy heart, but with positivity, with gratitude for the many milestones and achievements, with amazing friendships made, experiences had, and with confidence that we announce today that the Hobes business will be shutting its doors on May 31st, 2021. The fact that this happens to be our 11th birthday feels every inch appropriate. Thank you for being part of this journey with us, for wearing our shoes, for following us, for believing in us, and most of all, for being part of the Hobes story.
The team and I are so honoured to have been able to bring this brand to life, to be part of your lives and your wardrobes.
With much love,