We chatted with Caroline McCulloch about Frankie4:
Describe your company
My label FRANKiE4, is an Australian Company, that’s Podiatrist and Physiotherapist founded; providing women with a healthier option for fashion footwear.
What motivated you to start Frankie4?
It was out of sheer frustration! Years before I even started FRANKiE4, my husband (who is also a podiatrist) and I owned and operated podiatry clinics that stock footwear.
We were the first in Australia to introduce retail footwear into a podiatry clinic setting. Footwear is critical for good podiatric treatment and we wanted it on-hand to prescribe the best footwear for our patients’ individual needs.
But over the years it was evident there was a gap in the market. Despite having footwear stores I still struggled to be able to offer my female patients fashionable and comfortable options they actually wanted to buy.
It was the day a patient was in tears that I decided to take the plunge and develop my own range.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The day I realised I didn’t have to be apologetic of the fact I have never done a ‘footwear design’ course. I used to think that because I’m not ‘formally trained’ in footwear design, I couldn’t call myself a ‘footwear designer’.
I realised that’s rubbish! I’ve done my time studying and treating the foot, owning and managing my own footwear stores since 2003, fitting thousands of shoes to patients and customers, listening to what they like and what they don’t in a shoe, understanding what works and what doesn’t in footwear designs, and working daily with our supplier on designs and wear testing them myself.
I might not have done a footwear design course, but I can tell you I’ve earnt my stripes to add ‘Footwear Designer’ as my occupation.
What do you love most about what you do?
Playing with shoes, and knowing that there are thousands of women out there more comfortable in their shoes because of FRANKiE4.
What is your most popular selling product?
It changes monthly. One month our best seller might be a high heeled boot, the next month it could be one of our sneakers!
Who or what inspires you?
My mum is a huge inspiration to me. She really ran the show when her and dad had a wheat and cotton property outside of Goondiwindi. All businesses have to overcome or accept adversities, but in my opinion, farming is one of the toughest industries.
My parents work ethic, adaptability and resilience have taught me a lot of skills about managing my own business hurdles.
What are some of the ways FRANKiE4 gives back?
We support Brain Child Foundation. All proceeds from our sock range go towards this organisation. I had a scare with my boy in 2015. Hands down the worst time of my life, but we were so lucky that it was a false alarm, his brain scan came back all clear.
I figured I was meant to go through such an ordeal to discover and support this organisation. In 2018, we raised over $75,000 for them!
Our nail polish sales have also been supporting buy a bale recently. Having grown up on a farm, I know how important it is to support our farmers.
Do you have any predictions for the footwear industry?
I have some predictions… but if I told you I would be giving away what I’m working on at the moment!
What has been your proudest moment?
On a business level, I’m most proud of my team. It’s a humbling feeling to look at someone whilst they are saying clever things and I think in my mind ‘wow…. you chose my little FRANKiE4 label as your career path’. I think it most days actually, how did I get such a crew?
Do you have any plans for the future?
We are releasing something different and new for FRANKiE4 in around July/August this year, and I’m confident our customers will love it. So many soles to save… Watch this space!
Founder and designer Caroline McCulloch, a Podiatrist and Physiotherapist, and her team, have developed a strong AW19 range that will satisfy the fashionistas whilst still maintaining the brands signature level of ultra-comfort and cushioning.