Shoes. It’s hard to find a woman who doesn’t love them. Yet it can be hard to find a shoe that fits the tall woman, because we do not have a standard size. With my size US11/EU42, I still manage to find shoes (though some brands don’t even go up to that), but for some of you, the struggle of finding bigger shoes is real! Anna Pater, the founder of Zofie Shoes, knows this the ordeal all too well too, and decided to tackle this problem head on by designing her own shoe line of quality shoes for size US9 and above. I’m pleased to introduce you to Zofie Shoes.
On starting her own shoe line
Anna has a size 11 herself and had problems finding quality, elegant shoes, so that inspired her to start Zofie Shoes. She always had a great interest in fashion, so creating Zofie Shoes was following her dream. Anna says: “Fashion was always my first love. My mother was an amazing seamstress and I grew up as her assistant, basically designing my own clothes with my own personal tailor. I know the mechanics of clothing construction and although shoes are slightly different, the art of shoemaking has the same concepts – designs, patterns, shoe lasts and leathers. I managed to provide the above with some help from fashion illustrators and the factory is responsible for the all the technical aspects of design. It is an intense manufacturing process which requires very special tools and equipment.”
The nickname of Anna’s mother was Zofie, which was the inspiration for the brand’s name. Apart from teaching her the importance of quality materials and expert fabrication, her mother also taught Anna that anything is possible. Any garment or dress that she wanted just needed a pattern, fabric and expert tailoring.
When designing your shoes, Anna is inspired by clothes. She explains:
“Clothes inspire me because I never have the right shoes to go with my outfit. I guess that’s why they are technically called an accessory. Some of the shoes I created as a staple accessory to my timeless pieces and a few others I designed for the sole purpose of building a completely new look around the accessory.”
The material and the idea of the design goes hand in hand, one does not necessarily comes before the other. Anna tells me she’s quite a visual person so all her thoughts are represented with a vision. She immediately visualizes ideas in her head when she sees an interesting leather or fabric that would work well for one of her designs.
She used to save old magazines and go through them for this type of inspiration. However, the way the process works for the manufacturer is that they create the design and last based on her patterns and then the leathers are selected.
When sourcing for shoe manufacturers, Anna felt most comfortable with the one she found in Brazil. The shoe industry is not that big and this manufacturer had worked with Steve Madden when he was just starting out. Because they are made in Brazil, the shoes have Portuguese names. Anna also chose names with meanings that would help inspire the women wearing them.
As a by-product, Anna learned that shoe lasts are sized a bit differently based on where they were produced. In Italy for instance, where the majority of high-end shoe designers have their shoes produced, the shoe lasts are a bit smaller. That fact that the Brazilian last is slightly bigger was all the better for Anna’s brand, because the extra width and length has definitely been noticed and the shoes can be worn comfortably, without having to be in pain.
On the first collection
Zofie Shoes launched its first collection early 2015 which consists of a quality, classy, feminine shoes, in various fashionable styles and made of luxurious materials.
Anna tells me that she has received good feedback and that this collection has been received so far so good. Launching a line is both exciting and hard work; it’s quite a challenge to reach target customers with an online-only presence, she explains.
On the Good Steps Campaign
On the website, I read that Anna’s mother was known for her love, kindness and generosity— values of great importance to Zofie Shoes, and which they are dedicated to by ways of their “Good Steps” campaign. Zofie Shoes is the result of Anna taking ‘good steps’ of her own, by deciding to follow her heart and go into fashion. She hopes to inspire other people to follow their dreams and take those steps needed to live their best life. There will be some giveaways as an incentive for good steps; when Zofie fans share the extraordinary steps they have taken, they can be rewarded based on likes or shares, so keep an eye out, ladies.
On the future
The original collection was designed to ensure the classics and basics are covered: flats, pumps, peep-toes and booties. Some new styles ranging from playful sandals to embellished pumps are next, and these will be available sometime in 2016 hopefully.
You can order Zofie Shoes directly from their website if you are based in the US.
If you are based elsewhere, you can order via Amazon.com. If you are lucky enough to be based in Chicago, you can get them here.
I am happy Zofie Shoes offered me the opportunity to try their lovely product, and I can tell first hand that the gorgeous Adelia Fuschia Suede Pumps you see pictured throughout this post are indeed very comfortable to wear and you can tell quality fabrics have been used. Also, the shoes are delivered in the cutest pink box, and come in a dust-bag. This gives this that extra luxurious feel when you open your delivery, but it also ensures your shoes stay beautiful when you are not wearing them.
But trust me; once you put them on, you don’t want to take them off.
I’m very happy Zofie Shoes offers us more choice in footwear, and I’m curious to see what’s next. I love supporting these inspiring women who follow their dream and by doing so, giving us a wider range of choice in fashion for our tall frames and bigger feet.
Here’s to Zofie shoes, to Anna and to elegant footwear for our bigger feet!