What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?
Before launching my brand, I worked in marketing, fashion production, and shoe and small leather goods design.
Can you remember what you wore to your first job interview?
A black shift dress and freshly polished (and logo-less) Ferragamo flats. Simple, yet effective.
When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
I realized that I wanted to be a shoe designer during my second year at Sarah Lawrence College. My studies were originally concentrated in history; however, I eventually decided to pursue my interest in fashion. My first fashion internship at Emanuel Ungaro soon followed.
"I always believed that shoes are the focal point of any outfit."
What made you want to design shoes?
I always believed that shoes are the focal point of any outfit. Shoes can set the tone or mood for your day after you slip them on. I loved and still enjoy the challenge of designing such important wardrobe pieces.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in both the ordinary and the extraordinary in everyday life. I feel just as excited designing shoes inspired by a fish market as I do designing shoes inspired by Baroque architecture. Different textures and details in any kind of inspiration stand out for me.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed?
My favorite shoe that I’ve designed would be the Alter Ego T-Strap Heels in rose leather. I love them because the bi-colored leather loops along the vamp are charismatic.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as being a mix of easygoing yet polished, feminine and a little bohemian.
"For me, being fashionable does not mean wearing what’s currently trendy, but the expression of one’s personal and everlasting style."
How would you define fashion?
I would define fashion as an ultimate form of self-expression. For me, being fashionable does not mean wearing what’s currently trendy, but the expression of one’s personal and everlasting style.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?
I would tell new designers that the details are as just as important of the overall item that you’re designing. Don’t skimp on details, as they make what you’re designing truly unique. Even something like the color of the lining can make a difference in the overall design integrity of a dress, handbag, or shoe.
What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?
Balancing all roles that an entrepreneur takes on each day was a hurdle I’ve had to overcome. Being the designer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Strategist, and Stock Keeper among other things were challenging. Luckily, I’ve gotten the hang of keeping myself organized, focused, and not hesitant about asking others for advice when needed.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?
Don’t worry too much about what others may think.
"Artisans breathe life into my designs."
What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?
I would like my brand to be recognized for its constant support of artisanship. Artisans breathe life into my designs. Their work gives an intrinsic value to every shoe and makes each one seem as if they’re one-of-a-kind.
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
I envision my brand continually making shoes the artisanal way. While our shoes are made in Italy and will always be made there, I’d like to collaborate with artisanal jewelry makers on shoe embellishments. I plan to develop a collection of bridal shoes as well one day.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?
Southeast Asia. The cultures, sceneries, and foods in that part of the world speak to my soul as a designer. My family has roots in the Philippines, so maybe that has something to do with it as well!
Do you have a passion other than fashion or design?
I love food and traveling to new places to try new cuisines. #WillTravelForFood