In 2009 Jodie Fox, Mike Knapp and Michael Fox created Shoes of Prey and changed the way women shop for shoes.

The global online service allowed shoppers to customise their shoes, from sneakers to stilettos, and delivered them in a matter of weeks. But after nine years (and six million pairs of shoes) the Australian footwear e-tailer has closed up shop. It employs 200 staff around the world.

“Today we’re pausing to consider our options for the future of our business, and we have stopped taking orders,” says the company’s website. “We have received all of our orders and if we see that we are unable to make your shoes, you will be fully refunded.”

Fox used Instagram to explain to her customers what happened. “Just like every company, behind the scenes we faced struggles,” she posted yesterday. “We saw a future where women around the world could design their own shoe, in their absolutely perfect size, and have it made just for them.” Fox went on to explain the early days of the business were full of promise. It broke even at the two-month mark and was making millions of dollars in revenue in under two years. But it was in scaling that Shoes of Prey tripped up.

“In the years that followed we tested many channels. From physical stores, to wholesaling, and of course our direct-to-customer online experience.”

“While all the indicators and data were positive, we were not able to truly crack mass-market adoption. We remain passionate and positive about our vision for the future of fashion retail. But we are making the difficult decision today to pause orders and actively access all our options to either sell, or at a later date, reboot the business with substantial changes,” she said.

Major investor Blue Sky Alternative Investments told the AFR the decision to cease trading was made to avoid falling into more debt.

‘‘The company will continue negotiations with interested parties and endeavour to seek a path through that allows it to resume trading and deliver a return to its shareholders,’’ Blue Sky’s head of venture capital Elaine Stead said in a note to investors.

Shoes of Prey was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.