9 min 25 sec

New Zealand Shoe Hustle Sizes Up Profits

A New Zealander brings high quality and fashionable shoes to women who wear larger sizes.
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What It's About

Facing a lack of larger shoe sizes for women, this Kiwi takes her own steps to solve the problem.

Business Model
Skills Required
Research & Marketing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Gustavia has some great words of encouragement for anyone dealing with haters, “Don’t take advice from people who have never been where you’re wanting to go. They often respond from a place of what they would do rather than from a place of experience and knowledge.”

Fun Fact

When Gustavia was testing suppliers, she flew to China to check them out in person. When she landed on one, shed decided to stay for 7.5 weeks to learn about the whole shoemaking process. She developed great relationships with the teams there and even got to help them make some of her shoe designs.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1011

Gustavia Lui has faced the problem of wearing a larger shoe size most of her life. She would find a great pair of shoes and then be disappointed with its quality or poor construction. And on top of that, she wasn’t finding a lot of options in her native New Zealand to fit her feet. So she did what many of us do when we have a problem, started researching better options. After not having much luck, Gustavia decided to fix this problem and find fashionable shoes for women who wear shoes sized 10 to 13.

But how does someone start a shoe brand when they know nothing about shoe manufacturing? Gustavia started by registering for a course. In addition to a base level of knowledge, it gave her reassurance that if she was going to design a line of shoes, she might as well go all in and ensure they were of utmost quality.

Next, she hired a freelance shoe designer who helped her to come up with several different designs. She then took the designs and sent them off to a shoe factory. When she got her first sample back, it was surreal. Her concept had been brought to life with her name on it. The only problem was a big one: the quality was not up to par. She put her foot down on that company and ended up finding another manufacturer who was able to produce and outsource her designs. Her dream for high-quality fashionable shoes for larger sizes had taken another important step.

This was not a quick-and-easy side hustle; the process took Gustavia nearly five years to complete. From researching the shoemaking process to understanding global shipping and marketing, it’s a lot of work! And throw in having a baby in the midst of this and a full-time job. While many would’ve broken a heel during this time, Gustavia was committed to seeing this through.

She officially launched Staavias [Star-Vee-Ahs] Shoes in January of 2016, with the goal of becoming a fashion life-saver for all of Cinderella’s stepsisters around the world who were dreaming of better quality designs and glass slippers that actually fit.

Since launching, shoes have really taken off the shelf. Staavias averaged around $3,000 per month with no advertising and then about $10,000 per month once Gustavia started running ads. A few months into the launch, Staavias had a feature in New Zealand’s largest new publication. The day the feature ran, she made $15,000 in sales. Since then the brand has been featured on TV, radio, and blogs which have helped immensely. What sets Staavias apart from other larger sized shoes is the unique craftsmanship and high-end quality. Staavias has now replaced its initial investment of $15,000 nearly 5x over.

Thanks to Gustavia many women are able to wear fashionable shoes that accommodate larger shoe sizes. In the near future, she plans to put her best foot forward and expand sales to the United States.


  • Staavias Shoes: Though not available in the US (yet) checkout the stylish Staavias lineup and stay tuned!


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Don’t take advice from people who have never been where you’re wanting to go. They often respond from a place of what they would do rather than from a place of experience and knowledge.​"
—Gustavia Lui #SideHustleSchool

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