Margot Fraser is the founder of Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc., now entering its fourth decade as the major U.S. distributor of Birkenstock footwear. A native of Germany, Margot spent her early years in Berlin. With a background in art and clothing design, she was an independent dressmaker until she secured a position as a designer for a clothing manufacturer, which brought her to the U.S.
In 1966, she started her new venture selling Birkenstock sandals from home and subsequently approached traditional shoe retailers, only to be told, "Women will never wear those shoes!" But Margot persevered and, in the summer of 1967, she found her first customers at a health food store convention in San Francisco. She had neither a business plan nor a line of credit. What she did possess was a wholehearted belief in the product.
Margot credits much of her success to her lack of formal business training by not knowing what was "correct" or even "possible." She also sees now that her lack of financial resources in the early years was actually an asset, as she learned to be very resourceful. Margot's simple yet innovative approach to business has brought Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc. from a small home business to the multi-million dollar company it is today. Her vision of the future of Birkenstock is for it to remain a people-oriented company that values the participation and contribution of each employee.