Founding president MJ Eng returns to help steady battered ShoeDazzle

By Michael Carney , written on November 7, 2012

From The News Desk

With one-time ecommerce juggernaut ShoeDazzle fighting to regain its footing amid a shocking fall from grace, it appears that founding CEO Brian Lee isn’t the only one returning to the company. We have heard from multiple sources that founding president MJ Eng is back at the company full-time in what increasingly appears to be an all-hands-on-deck situation (something we first speculated a month ago).

Eng left the company last fall around the time that (failed) hired-gun CEO Bill Strauss took over the operation and summarily began disassembling every piece of its business model that had been working. Eng spent the last year building Teeology, an ecommerce luxury tee shirt line he co-founded with Lee and fashion executives Jeff Marine and Erica Zohar, launching in July in partnership with music and movie megastar Jennifer Lopez.

We’ve been hearing plenty of speculation about the circumstances of Eng’s departure from Teeology, and where that leaves the young company, but have not been able to confirm many details.

More central to the Eng story, and that of the Los Angeles startup ecosystem, is the apparently declining health of ShoeDazzle. Lee’s first move upon returning was to cut the company’s headcount by double digit percentages. At the time, I described it as “a company in flux.” It’s beginning to appear that I was unintentionally generous.

Now that the two founders are reunited at the company’s helm, we’ll be watching closely to see what sorts of impact they can have. For executives of their caliber and track record, it's odd to see them tasked with catching a falling knife.

We've reached out to ShoeDazzle and Eng directly for comment on this story but received no response. We will update as additional information becomes available. If you have additional information please email [email protected].