My shoes journey started from when I was a young girl. I have always had a love for shoes. When you're young, you don’t consider factors like quality and comfort, you only look at shoe styles, and if you like them, that’s a done deal.
I always had a knack for dressing up, so as I grew up and went to university, I always struggled to find stylish comfortable shoes that I could wear all day every day. I studied Medicinal Chemistry at Auckland University and a big part of a science degree is lab work, so you’re on your feet literally half the day in labs or out and about walking between lectures etc. it became obvious very quickly the shoes I could wear all day were going to be sneakers as there were simply no other options in terms of all day wear. That was the first time I realised to combine my love for shoes, with solving an issue a lot of women had. An idea that stayed in the back of my head for years to follow...
So fast forward 4 years… I graduated and got a job in the corporate world where I worked for 8 years before Sole Shoes was born.
Working in corporate, once again I struggled to find comfortable shoes that were stylish and I could wear all day, and when I did find them, they either came with a hefty price tag or, was a pair everyone was wearing.
Now remember, I always had a passion for shoes, so the issue I had during my time at university, I now faced again and so did many other women in the workplace.
I always knew I wanted to work for myself and become an entrepreneur, and that’s when I decided to take a serious look at combining my love and passion for shoes to create a much-needed product women everywhere can use. A stylish shoe selection that did not compromise on comfort and quality… and that’s when the real fun began!
My focus was to create comfortable high-quality fashionable women’s shoes to solve an issue many women experienced. I had heard it time and time again throughout the years ladies conversing about their sore feet when wearing dressy shoes or being on their feet all day.
I was determined to create shoes that were comfortable and did not compromise on style and quality… and I did! Together with my team, every range created, we are enhancing our shoes, our insoles, the leathers used, working with experts to design comfortable insoles and long-lasting sustainable shoes.
Key for me and my non negotiables were quality and ethical working environments with my partners such as suppliers and factories. To make sure my partners aligned with my ethical morals regarding working environments and had good workplace cultures which empowered their staff, particularly women, I did an unplanned trip to my suppliers. Literally just rocked up without any notice! I think it's a great way as you will see the working conditions as they are rather than staged… and what I found was beautiful and unexpected.
The owner of the factory who make our shoes are a couple. The wife plays a key role in running the business. The entire business development, sales and factory managers were women... it was truly a sight to see and moment to remember, women empowerment in the workplace. I was stoked!
As the day went on, I hear a bell going off at 10ish, then 12ish then 3ish and after hearing it a few times, I asked what it was for. I was told there was an in-house chef and those bells meant meals were ready from morning tea, to lunch to afternoon tea. How amazing was that and, that is goals to have a workplace environment like that!
Safe to say the conditions for the workers, factory and those running the place where much greater than I even wanted, so that was a huge win knowing I am supporting businesses whose operations and values are aligned to my morals and values... my non-negotiables.
From there on in, I was on a mission to create the perfect styles to share with you all! I wanted to bring you staple pairs that could be worn all year round so you can get the most wear out of your shoes, and driving sustainability. In saying that, I also wanted a few statement pairs to make the selection pop! I believe we’ve achieved both of those with the range we have and styles we continue to add seasonally.
I launched Sole Shoes in June 2019. All our shoes are made with premium quality genuine leather, handmade, and have double foamed insoles achieving the ultimate comfort whilst not compromising style!
All shoes have been tested by real people so I can ensure our customers get the finest quality shoes that our brand promotes.
At Sole Shoes, we believe shoes are the most important part of any outfit and that is why I feel so blessed to have created this partnership enabling us to share our passion with you!
Six weeks after launching the business I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, Jude. He is now 1 and Sole Shoes is now two years old. We have a team of 5 of us who I cannot do what I do everyday without them and am extremely grateful for them.
I surround myself with people who know what I don’t, whose strengths compliment my weaknesses, so I can focus on becoming world class at what I’m good at.
So that’s my story. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s relatable.