December 28, 2017

After yet another whirlwind trip, I finally have a few hours while I enjoy a fairly relaxing train ride on my way home. While I was waiting for the train, with over 50 pairs of new samples, plus my luggage, I pondered in a somewhat self-pitying way....”did Taryn Rose ever have to schlepp all of her shoes by herself back to the USA?” (I plan to ask her soon).  I’ve decided that I definitely think more like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur than a designer! Entrepreneurs are wired to understand that one has to sacrifice sleep, comfort, and yes... money, to make his or her dream come true. One time, when I was interviewing an experienced fashion expert from NYC, I remember feeling shocked when he announced... “of course you will fly me back and forth to Italy 1st class!” “Wow,” I thought, “no one from Silicon Valley would have thought to ask for that perk so early in a start-up!” Melding the cultures of 7th Ave and Silicon Valley is quite a challenge! There is so much to do on a day to day basis, that I rarely indulge myself by taking the  time to reflect. For some reason, trains always seem to provide me the right environment, as well as the time, to reflect. We are just completing our very 1st season of production, yet we are already gaining traction on two continents. How cool is that! While we have enjoyed good feedback, re-orders, and even an opportunity to do two media events in Zurich and Geneva; the hard work is not over. Like most start-ups, there have been some bumps along the way. I am so grateful to those retailers who literally bought into what I am trying to do. To me, the first production was like beta testing for a computer company. It provided the opportunity to see what works well and what needs adjustment.  Whether working in the retail shoe business with my father, treating a patient with a complicated foot problem, or producing my own line of shoes, I find there is a commonality to success. It is not the “secret sauce,” so to speak. It is very old-fashioned customer service and a commitment to hard work. I encourage my sales team to treat our customers in the same way I treat my patients. I do not “sell” them, but rather educate them as to the proper treatment plan. It is our job to educate our customers as to the benefit of my shoe construction over traditional shoe construction. Once tried on, the shoes will sell themselves. The departing words that the factory owner left me with as we packed up the samples was, “Joan, your shoes are very complicated!” I smiled, and thought to myself, “women are worth the trouble!” As the train arrives to my station, I need to end this self-indulgence and get back to the tasks at hand. I hope to continue this journey and build this business the best way I know how... one step at a time (all puns are intended)... authentically, organically, while providing  unique shoes which finally put  real comfort technology into the high fashion shoe. Please continue to follow my journey and keep asking for my shoes in your area. Without your support, I am just a crazy lady with a dream to revolutionize the comfort of a high heel shoe! As I prepare for the FFaNY Shoe Show in NYC, I am excited to connect with retailers from all over, but I am especially excited to meet with our new retailer in NYC, Paul Mayer Shoes on 79th St and 3rd Ave. As a New York girl, coming back home is always special. I am lucky to still have family and friends in NY. So, NYC here I come!!! xo, Joan To New York - Joan Oloff