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Our latest Speaker Series at BrainStation Vancouver welcomed Sean Clark, CRO & cofounder of SHOES.com. Sean arrived with his wife, new baby, brother and other family members in tow. Not only did Sean have his family and colleagues in the audience, but almost 100 people from the BrainStation community. Right away it was clear Sean is a family man, who jokes and even completes the Iron Man with his employees in Hawaii.

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Everyone was buzzing for Sean to begin his talk, and what we heard, was an unconventional, and inspirational start-up story – with the obvious inserts about drinking too much tequila.

Here are our favourite take aways.

Sean started shoes.com in his parent’s basement suite. He also knew nothing about shoes. After travelling the world, he settled in Vancouver with the “woman of his dreams” – cue “awe’s” from the audience. Sean started an internship with Rodger Hardy, the founder of Coastal Contacts (now just Clearly). Sean then ventured to work at Zappos and learned how an eCommerce website worked before focusing on his own venture.

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He created an eCommerce store with zero inventory. “Look Mom, no inventory!” – were his words. Within an hour he had 40 orders, validating his business.

When he started attending fashion and shoe shows, he had a “brief case, business cards and a dream”. He convinced companies like Steve Madden and more to become his partners.

Sean was not shy to talk about the barriers and rock bottoms he faced in his journey. Touching on things like running out of cash, having to fire staff, suffering a serious concussion & sleeping on his brother’s couch.

“Something funny happens when you’re about to lose everything”

“Let’s go to Lolita’s and do some tequila shots. You can sleep on my couch” – his brother

“Tequila shots can sometimes change your life”

Sean was able to pull himself up, surrender to the process, and then his sales picked up. You could say, the rest is history. In his closing statement Sean left everyone in the audience with these words; “It’s always two steps forward and three steps back – there are no shortcuts”.

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We loved hearing Sean’s story. He took the time to answer questions from our community & shake hands with everyone afterwards. What drives Sean? To quote him one last time – “From a basement to a billion, and we’re only halfway there!”

Join us for more Speaker Series events at BrainStation Vancouver. Check out our events page for upcoming talks!

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