Traditional mukluks now keep feet warm in over 45 countries
As an Aboriginal-owned company, Manitobah Mukluks makes traditional mukluks and moccasins with techniques used by Canada’s First Peoples for thousands of years. In 2012, after 15 years selling within Canada, the owners sought to expand their vision and products to an international audience.
Josh Fine, Chief Brand Officer, knew he wanted to bring the company online, but didn’t know if it would be possible due to budgetary constraints. At the time, Manitobah Mukluks was a tiny brand and a large e-commerce platform and service provider seemed out of reach. However, in 2012, Manitobah Mukluks launched an e-commerce site using Shopify, and began experimenting with online marketing using Google AdWords.
“Without the web, Manitobah Mukluks could easily be a niche, local product,” says Fine. “Instead, we’ve started to find a global network of people who share our vision to make an impact in Aboriginal communities and keep traditions alive.” Targeting a larger audience has also required consumer education. “A potential customer may not know what a mukluk is; they just know they need warm boots. Our goal is to take that impulse and help navigate customers through the internet-maze to a great product accompanied by a great story,” says Fine.
While Manitobah mukluks and moccasins can be found at national and independent retail stores across Canada and the USA, their largest retail portal remains their online store. Today Manitobah Mukluks sells to over 45 countries through their online store, and over one third of their website visits come from outside Canada.
“Luckily, there have been so many innovations in e-commerce platforms for small businesses that we have been able to deliver on the experience at a fraction of the budget. Many of the more complex marketing functions that are being performed by the best e-commerce companies in the world can now be done by small businesses using very simple tools, like AdWords,” says Fine.
Manitobah Mukluks opted to start small and work incrementally, in order to get the business online in the midst of budgetary constraints. Fine notes that the scalability of online sales has been most surprising: “Once you have an online store, there are so many affordable tools to help promote your business and scale-up, including analytics, conversion tracking, social media, AdWords and SEO,” says Fine.
Outside of Canada, the United States is the brand’s largest market, and it’s also the fastest growing online segment. Fine says launching the Manitobah Mukluks website was their best decision to date, and it has allowed the company to share its vision, increase overall brand awareness and reach out to a global network of people with shared values.
- Manitobah Mukluks have sold to over 45 countries through their online store
- Over one third of their website visits come from outside Canada
- Over one fifth of their online revenue came from outside Canada
“Without the web, we could easily be a niche, local product. Instead, we’ve found a global network of people who share our vision to make an impact in Aboriginal communities and keep traditions alive..”Josh Fine, Chief Brand Officer, Manitobah Mukluks
“Being able to measure the direct ROI has allowed us to dedicate dollars to telling our story.”Josh Fine, Chief Brand Officer, Manitobah Mukluks
About Manitobah Mukluks
Manitobah Mukluks is an Aboriginal-owned Canadian company that combines centuries old Aboriginal design with modern materials and processes to create the finest mukluks and moccasins in the world. Manitobah Mukluks was founded in Winnipeg in 1997 by Métis entrepreneur, Sean McCormick, with a mission to build a global brand that makes a significant impact in Aboriginal communities.
Manitobah can be found online at manitobah.ca and at national and independent retail stores across Canada and the USA.