Eugene Cheng from Sneaker Laundry: World’s Wealthiest Shoe Shiner | #305

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Eugene talks shiny shoes, radical bre-brands and old school networking

Ep 305 Eugene Cheng

Hailed as Australia’s wealthiest shoe shiner, Eugene has now sold over 110,000 sneaker care products worldwide and cleaned over 37,000 sneakers in Australia alone. At 30 years of age, this ex-lawyer turned entrepreneur now boasts a portfolio of six businesses ranging from The Sneaker Laundry to a CBD nightclub and a waterfront events space in Docklands.

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Jo-Anne is the Content & Insights Director at the award-winning retail strategy agency, The General Store. Prior to this, Jo-Anne was the Managing Editor at the industry leading publication, Inside Retail for six years. In her time there, Inside Retail won the National Online Retail Association award for Best Retail Outlet three years in a row. Jo is passionate about diversity, fashion and salad bowl haircuts. You can contact Jo at

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Eugene Cheng,  Founder of Sneaker Laundry

Sneaker Laundry launched in 2017 offering sneaker cleaning products as well as services, both online and in-store. They now ship locally and  internationally, with stores all over the world, including Melbourne, Sydney, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even Peru. Eugene’s an ex-lawyer who’s now known as Australia’s wealthiest shoe shiner, having sold over 110,000 sneaker care products worldwide and cleaned over 37,000 sneakers in Australia alone.   Eugene shares how old school networking led to Sneaker Laundry stores the Middle East, he gets into the detail of the radical re-brand he’s in the middle of and reveals his worst mistake – an advertising spend blunder that cost him dearly.  The great thing is he also tells us exactly how he fixed it.  

“We’ve been working for the website for a long time, I think it’s time the website works for us.”

Eugene Cheng

The retail halo effect

“It’s very competitive online in the product space with new brands coming to market to try and compete. But not many can do the service aspect as well. So the service aspect serves as a testimonial to what our products do, because we clean the shoes every day and get these results. 

And the products serve as an option for people that either want to try and do it themselves or are just too far to access their service. The way we use the service is really like a halo effect, just to reduce our marketing costs.”

Stick to the formula

“It might seem really obvious but it wasn’t obvious to me and I hope that a couple of people can avoid the same mistake.  Just stick to a very simple formula where if your average order value is $100, you need to have at least a 3-4 X ROAS depending on your product margin, so just work out how much your product costs, how much your costs to fulfil, your fulfilment costs being shipping, pick and pack, warehousing and any other variable costs you have and make sure you just leave 25% at the end of the day and if you don’t do that, then every sale you make you’re just losing more money.”

Increasing website efficiency

“I guess what sparked the website rebuild was that I felt the website was too inefficient for us.  Our conversion rates weren’t doing very well, sitting around like 2%. No matter what we threw at it, it wouldn’t increase. We threw everything at it, right?  We did different themes, different layouts,we started playing around with everything we could and it just sat there and I went holy shit, something is not working.  

It’s one of two things, one, it’s the brand and the product and two, your website, you’ve done everything you can and you need someone better to come in and do it.  So that’s why we went on the two-prong attack, gutting the whole product range and revamping the website, which are both two very expensive exercises to do at the same time!”

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