VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – His has become one of the world’s most eccentric and celebrated shoe brands. John Fluevog is out with a new coffee table book that celebrates his 50 years in business.
In Fluevog: 50 years of Unique Soles for Unique Souls, the Vancouver-based entrepreneur not only shares his story but also what inspires him.
He admits he got into the shoe business almost by accident.
“I didn’t think, ‘Oh, gee, I want to go in shoes. This is what I want to do.’ Not at all. I just started working in the shoe store,” he recalls.
“So, maybe the answer is, be careful what you start working at, you might end up doing that for the rest of your life!”
Fluevog admits his life isn’t the result of some grand design.
Today on @NEWS1130: I speak with #Vancouver shoe seller and designer John @Fluevog about his new book, Fluevog: 50 years of Unique Soles for Unique Souls. "Be careful what you start working at," he warns. "You might end up doing that for the rest of your life!" #1130bookshelf pic.twitter.com/MgjVFmLidk
— John Ackermann (@jackermann) November 10, 2019
If anything, it sounds like pure luck.
“I was dyslexic, I didn’t have the grades to get into university, I don’t know if I even graduated from high school. I was quite insecure. So, I came from this very quote ‘low place’ thinking that I wasn’t good at much and I just happened to get into the shoe business.”
It’s easy to take some of his accomplishments for granted, from being one of the first in North America to import Doc Marten boots to selling his shoes over the Internet.
“Well, I’ve always liked technology,” he admits.
“Back in `98, I had a website and I was selling shoes [and] it was quite shocking for me to see orders coming in. I went, ‘What? People are actually buying shoes online?'”
LISTEN HERE: 50 Years of Fluevog
Having said that, Fluevog doesn’t see the traditional brick-and-mortar store going away anytime soon.
“I would say there’s always going to be a mix of retail because the retail stores have turned into a place of community.”
His fans, affectionately known as “Fluevogers,” include everyone from Madonna and Beyoncé to Alice Cooper and Jack White.
“The first thing I really recall being impressed with was maybe [seeing] The Beach Boys in my store in 1971 or `72 and when the movie McCabe and Mrs. Miller was here, Julie Christie was in buying shoes, people like that.”
Look for Fluevog: 50 years of Unique Soles for Unique Souls from LifeTree Media.