For years in the City I bore witness to sore-footed women hobbling along trying to hold serious conversations with clients. It kind of dampens the ‘entrust your millions with me’ vibe somewhat when you need to cling on to a colleague’s forearm whilst you clumsily wrench a heel from a crack in the pavement.
‘Wear flats!’ you cry. Well, yes, but my feminism likes shoes and its A-OK by me if we stab at the glass ceiling with a spiky heel. More power to us, I say. Plus, I am not very tall, my husband is a giant and flats makes for neck-ache on date night.
But no more. I had a Very Important Meeting on the horizon and a stylist friend recommended I buy some Rosie pumps from House of Spring.
And the rest is history. I online-met my ShoeSaviour, the lovely Radhia, Founder of House Of Spring and a veritable Fairy Godmother of Women in Heels (and flats and trainers….)
I gave a talk at CHANEL in them, then shopped on Oxford Street and came home, bouncing along, when normally I would be gritting my teeth and wondering what a bare-foot walk from the bus-stop might bring. (answer: nothing good.)
Radhia founded House of Spring – a women’s shoe brand inspired by the Parisian look – for all these reasons. She wanted women to look effortlessly chic and be confident all day long…in comfort.
‘I have a long love-story with fashion. My mum introduced me to fashion magazines when I was very little, my eyes where full of stars and I dreamed to be the next Manolo Blahnik. After high school, I went to a fashion business school in Paris and did several internships in Paris and London.
I then joined a fashion brand in Paris as a buyer where I worked for 6 years at (huge French brand) Monoprix. This experience was fantastic and it helped me to understand the fashion business and gave me the courage to start my shoe business.’
She moved to London 3 years ago for love with her now fiancé, and the rest is history. Using her extensive experience as a buyer, she short-listed high-end producers in Portugal and chose one for heels and one for her flats. So, what’s the secret?
‘First, you need the shoe to be carefully balanced when you walk, and so the heel is not too high or too low. Second, I ensure there is really good padding in the front where the weight is carried.’
Brilliantly, for London women working in Zones 1-2, House of Spring runs a ‘Shoes in The City’ service. House of Spring can arrange to bring shoes to your work-place. At lunchtime you can meet in your office, or a hotel foyer, with friends or without, at lunch or after work.
Simply choose 6 styles with no obligation to buy. It has to beat running to Pret as your 15 mins out.
Otherwise, there are pop-ups and online, of course. The next step is to continue to grow brand-awareness. A one-woman show (for now!) Radhia has already achieved so much,
So which are Radhia’s favourite? ‘I love all the styles that I design. They are like my babies!! My favourite is the Gigi pink brogues because the shape is so feminine and the powder pink colour lifts your outfit in a second…..Oh and the Rosie pumps, they are the perfect black shoes with a twist!’
Enjoy a browse…..I am skipping off to check out some more of those heels. After all, we can’t smash that glass ceiling with just one pair of pumps.
THE BAKER’S DOZEN
What is – or has been – your greatest struggle? Coming from Paris to London 3 years ago. It was not easy to start House of Spring without contacts in the industry.
What/who did you want to be when you were growing up? Manolo Blahnik!
Best advice ever received and from whom? From my parents, ‘Don’t be too impatient. If you work hard, the good news will come with time.’
Who do you most admire? My parents.
What keeps you up at night? Work, Work and Work.
When were you happiest? When my boyfriend proposed last April. We had 4 years of a long distance relationship between Paris and London. If you believe, it can work!
Favourite object you possess? I’m addicted to nice notebooks. Can I say all my note books? I can’t choose just one.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? ‘Shoes! Do you like these shoes? OMG look at these shoes!’
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? I used to be very impatient and very sad when something did not go my way. Now I know that time and hard work are the two keys to success.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? I love watching some French trash TV after a long day at the office. I’m so ashamed to say that haha!!
What change do you hope for in your lifetime? To see House of Spring grow 😉
Who could help you next? If everyone who discovered House of Spring can share it to their friends and entourage. It would be fantastic!
Please recommend a brilliant female-led brand or business you have used recently. Deola Charles from Ille De Cocos, she’s a star.