Interview with Jennifer Bailey
is a unique and innovative brand of footwear, solving the problem of being unable to find a pair of stylish shoes when you have bunions.
The shoes are fashionable, elegant and designed to fit your feet.
Calla shoes are currently sold via our website and to select retailers in Europe.
Hello Jennifer, how long did it take to bring Calla Shoes from idea to MVP?
I first decided I was going to start the shoe business when I had the light bulb moment eight years ago, when I was getting married and was looking for some shoes to fit my feet. Because I've got bunions, finding shoes for special occasions such as weddings is really, really tricky. It took me a few more years before I got round to deciding I was going to definitely start the business. I got married and had a couple of children. It was in fact when I was pregnant with my second child, I was in a redundancy situation with my job and I decided that was the time and that was the opportunity to start this business. It took about two years to go from deciding I was going to start the business to the shoes arriving in the UK, so, that I could start distributing them. I had a website up and running for 12 months to try and gain interest in the concept but, it did take a lot of development time to go from that original idea and talking with podiatrists and shoe designers and sorting the factory and, getting samples made, before we had something that I was happy to launch with.
What have your costumers said? What's the feedback regarding Calla Shoe's?
We've had incredible feedback from our customers. We've sold shoes to thousands of women all over the world from our e-commerce site, in over 40 countries. It is mainly in the UK but, there are women all over the world who are in need of our beautiful shoes for bunions. We've got great reviews, you can have a look on our website and we do ask our customers to send photographs of their feet in and out of our shoes so that other people can get an idea whether or not our shoes will be right for them or not. We've got almost five stars out of five on Facebook and, we also use an independent review site called Trust Spot and you can see the results of these on our website as well. We've got a fantastic retention rate, around 25% of our customers have already bought again, even though, we've only been going for a couple of years. Many of our customers have bought well more than one or two pairs, some of our customers are into their 10th, 11th or 12th pair of shoes.
Who is on your team? How did this collaboration come together?
The team is made up of a few different people not all on the payroll. We have a marketing manager who is on the payroll. The rest of the team is made up of some freelance designers, shoe designers. I'm not a shoe designer by trade, so I hire this help in and we work really closely together on looking at what's on trend, what's coming up for the season and what kinds of designs we think would work best for bunions. When I first set up the business, I also worked with podiatrists and that is an ongoing process to help with innovation and technology in the shoes, to make sure that they're the most comfortable they can be for women with bunions. I also work with a factory and an agent in Portugal and they help with the sampling, the technology, the pattern cutting and all of that. That's the whole team.
Do you have any plans to expand Calla in 2019? Any new styles coming out?
Calla has loads of new styles coming out in 2019. The Spring-Summer collection is leaving the factory in Portugal this week and, it should hopefully be on sale on the website in the middle of March. We'll be bringing out a few new summer styles, as well as some espadrilles and they'll be available around April time hopefully. The Autumn-Winter collection will be available in September and that includes some autumnal colours of our core collection and also a new range of boots.