December 28, 2017

Without a doubt, traveling and meeting people from other countries is the most rewarding part of this journey. Milan is one of the great centers for the arts, and fashion. It is always a joy to travel to Milan to gain inspiration and knowledge through the leather and materials fairs held several times a year. The cultural significance of Milan hits you before you even arrive at the fairgrounds. The architectural splendor of the Milano Centrale train station hits even during mundane daily commutes.. The architectural wonder of the famous La Scala opera house embraces you before you even hear a note of music inside! As impressive as the physical aspects of Milan are, it is the people that leave their indelible mark upon my soul. On one of my several trips back and forth, I was checking in for a flight home with a sample bag of shoes. Barbara, the ground supervisor for American Airlines asked me about my shoes. As I explained the unique benefit of my shoe construction, I could see she became truly interested. I pulled out a sample to demonstrate that shoes CAN be both beautiful and functional. I promised her I would, on my next trip, bring a pair for her. On my next trip, I did not see Barbara, but left the pair of shoes I promised her with a co-worker. As I checked in my flight home today, I was a bit sad, as I was leaving Italy, my 2nd home. As I walked towards my departure gate I saw Barbara standing and talking to some people. I wasn’t sure if she would remember me. It has been a long time since our schedules allowed us to connect at the airport. I didn’t want to interrupt her conversation, so I kept walking as I glanced over. When she looked up, I immediately knew she remembered me! I was so excited, as she sees countless people pass through the airport on a daily basis. She embraced me, gave me a kiss on each cheek, smiled, and told me how wonderful my shoes are. I asked her permission to record her words. Mainly, I want to be able to remind myself why I work so hard to make a difference in the world of women’s footwear. It is these connections with women around the world, who appreciate my efforts and love my shoes that fuel my soul. I am grateful to have connected with Barbara. Our connection, and her kind words remind me that every woman deserves to look beautiful without pain. It is a privilege to make footwear for women.Women like Barbara continue to inspire me more than they may ever know.

xoxo Joan