The idea behind Rollasole sprang to mind in 2008 when Matt Horan decided there had to be a better way for his girlfriend to return home after a fun night out than the obligatory piggy back. From that moment on, Matt poured his efforts into developing and patenting our unique Rollasole shoes. Soon after, the first Rollasole vending machine appeared in Matt’s home town of Bristol, UK.
“What makes our shoes unique is that they are compact enough to be stored in a can and each pair comes with a bag to put your heels in and I’ve not found a clutch bag yet that we can’t fit into. We’re building such a creative design collection and the feedback has been overwhelming, so it’s a perfect marriage of style and convenience.
His idea was met with some criticism: “It’s too simple. If it worked, someone would have done it already.” Matt was attracted to the idea of running his own business. The prospect of a 9-5 job was unattractive but he didn't know anything of the world of business or fashion.
To save money, Matt moved back home and utilised willing friends and contacts to get the business started. Learning along the way about sales, distribution, marketing, manufacturing, design, sourcing, brand management, customer service, PR, accounting, social media.
“The first Rollasoles were all designed with clubbers in mind, so they were dark and fairly neutral. Since then Rollasole has expanded to cater for women wearing heels for so many occasions. From commuting to work and shopping, to driving home or going to a wedding. Our most recent deluxe designs are for all day wear so we’ve had so much fun developing designs to meet those needs.”
Even though Matt is now selling his product in places some companies can only dream of he still remembers the difficulties of the first few years and the problems that come with staring your own business:
"It has by no means been a stroll in the park. It’s been a frantic, exhausting journey of huge setbacks and sleepless nights along with improbable wins and impromptu office group hugs. I’ve travelled the world building Rollasole, hung out with Al Pacino at the Golden Globes and ate sea slugs in rural China. From our head office in Bristol, I now have the privilege of working with my best mate and our small team pushing to build the company beyond anything I could have dreamed of on that night in 2008.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend running a business to everyone. The hours are long, the kicks in the teeth are harder to take as they are personal. But the wins taste so much sweeter because I engineered them and now I’d choose that every time over the steady and boring life of working nine to five."