Mallet London's Founder, Evren Ozka: The Secrets Behind a Rising Sneaker Empire
Evren Ozka, Mallet London Co Founder, sits down with Miami Living and shares what drives him, his secret to success and what the future holds for Mallet London.
Evren Ozka, Mallet London Co Founder
Q Tell me about your journey as an entrepreneur. What drove you to Co Found Mallet London?
My appetite for business started at an early age, I used to cut grass and wash cars for neighbors and went on to sell candy at school. The candy business was great because of the high demand and low competition! Eventually I had 5 other kids working for me by the age of 13. Although it wasn't an official business, the experience taught me a lot of the basic lessons in business including cash flow, scaling, employees and inventory. When I left school I started working in the family clothing manufacturing business which is where I really started to thrive and learn what business is all about. In the meantime the hunger to have companies and brands of my own was brewing, so when the opportunity came to start Mallet London I was totally ready.
Q What has been the most important lesson you learned while building Mallet London into an internationally renowned sneaker brand?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to be able to keep the big picture and long term goal of the brand in mind, while at the same time focusing on all the details.
The customer experience has always been something that we’ve tried to keep as high priority since launching the brand, we want people to love the Mallet sneakers and clothing they wear and develop their own personal connection to the brand. From our very first production line to this day we include a durable box, branded shoe horn, dust bags, branded paper and spare laces. These are only a few small details but they all add up to the overall experience we share with our customers.
Q How have you grown the business so quickly in just 8 years?
I think one of the main factors was being patient and selective with the retailers we distributed the brand to. It seems counterintuitive, but distributing the brand very conservatively and selectively actually accelerated our growth without oversupplying the demand. The premium positioning of the brand has also been a non-negotiable for us, and in the long run has definitely worked in our favor.
Q What sets Mallet London apart from everything else in a saturated sneaker market?
I think it's a combination of our affordable luxury price tag, staying true to our brand and continually striving to offer products in a way that resonates with our audience. The sneaker market (and fashion market in general) has seen many twists and turns over the years and we’ve tried to remain true to our roots from the beginning and throughout those periods.
Q Recently, you presented a campaign with some of the UK’s hottest creatives and rappers celebrating ‘local legends’ who have and continue to inspire a generation through their artistry and style. What other aspects of culture inspire you?
Mallet is a British brand and we want that to show through with everything that we do. Our team have done an incredible job of orchestrating the campaign with creative talents that are not only friends of the brand but also really speak to the British heritage we proudly represent. We also try to incorporate elements of local monuments and streets into the designs as well as develop a line of loafers that are handcrafted in England.
Q What's next for Mallet London?
We are really focusing on international growth right now especially in the US, the Middle East and the rest of Europe. Right now we have fitted out our own pop-up shops in Printemps (Paris), KDW (Germany) Harvey Nichols (Dubai) which really allows us to convey our brand messaging directly to the consumer with the decor and vibe of the environment, and we hope to do the same too soon with our US partners. We also have a collaboration with a fellow British brand which is due for release towards the end of this year which will be the biggest product launch from our brand to date!