Around Twelve Limited was established in 2005 by sisters, Kimberley Cody (nee Smyth) and Naomi Hughes (nee Smyth) of Piopio, in response to a need for a variety of shoes for both men and women with large feet. The business name ‘Around Twelve’ was inspired by the need to source and supply shoes that were ‘around size 12’.
Company director, Kimberley Cody, had struggled to find shoes since she was twelve years old at which time her feet had grown to a US size 12. Whilst a number of shoes are made to her size, retail shops rarely stock shoes beyond a size 11. Visits to shoe shops often involved shoe assistants searching out in the back for the one pair of large shoes that the shop had on hand. At other times, Kimberley was encouraged to hear that “yes, we do stock your size”, only to be disappointed to find that the sizing of the shoe was too small - not a true size 12. This limited selection meant Kimberley’s wardrobe consisted of a few pairs of shoes which didn’t quite fit right or didn’t really match the rest of her wardrobe.
In 2004, Kimberley and her husband, Hayden, moved from Matamata back to her home town of Piopio to set up a small trucking company. She enrolled in the Certificate in Small Business Management with Te Wânanga o Aotearoa to assist with in her venture. Through this programme, Kimberley not only developed the skills she needed to run her business, but was also inspired to establish another business to meet the needs of people with large feet. In 2005, Kimberley therefore approached her sister, Naomi, with a proposal to set up an online shoe shop catering to both men and women with large feet. Naomi, who has a background in small business education and is a director of Aotahi Ltd (www.aotahi.com) recognised the need for the concept and therefore accepted the offer.
In August 2006, Kimberley and Naomi, accompanied by their father, Bill Smyth, went on their first overseas trip to source suppliers of large footwear. Encouraged by the success of their trip and by the market response for the concept, Kimberley and Naomi proceeded with their family-based business. Around Twelve was subsequently launched online in January 2007, with the vision of being known as the large shoe specialists throughout Australasia and the world.