“To discover is to obtain sight or knowledge of something for the first time.” Merriam Webster Dictionary
I love shoes. I’ve always loved them. Starting at the age of four, my Grandmother used to take me shopping during my annual summer visits for a special pair of shoes as a send-off gift. We had a ritual--walk from store to store looking in the windows until we found the perfect pair. One year, it was red patent leather clogs from Denmark with tiny ladybugs painted on them. Later, it was a pair of flat sandals made in Spain with multi-colored bright ribbons that wrapped around my ankles. No one, and I mean no one, had shoes this cool.
That love of shoes and shopping for them stayed with me… In fact, I ended up as a professional footwear buyer and successful executive who worked in retail my entire career. I honed my craft and discerning product eye buying and selling a lot of shoes over the years for Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Piperlime, Banana Republic and more. I’m one of the lucky few. I was able to turn my personal passion into a profession.
Over the years, that profession and shoe obsession led me to spend countless hours shopping the most incredible shoe floors all over the world. A trip to Paris- better check out the new Galeries Lafayette shoe floor… I’ve kept the most amazing pair of light blue Mary Jane’s with an oversized flower that I found on that trip. I worshipped those shoes, and I wore them to death. They were one-of-a kind, elegant, and completely wearable.
Years later, shopping in Italy on my honeymoon, we headed to the Prada outlet outside of Florence. I still wear the incredible blush sequin ankle straps I bought there. Once they were on my feet, I knew they were the ones in that way that “you just know”. Those shoes are still in my closet, always cared for and treasured. Recently, my daughter gasped in delight after discovering them. I’m saving them for her.
All my shoes have stories attached to them. They remind me of amazing trips I’ve taken, the moments of clarity when I needed a shoe for a special occasion and finally found it, or just the thrill of finding the perfect pair and loving what a shoe does to upgrade my outfit. I keep the important ones—my perfect, elegant sling back wedding shoes that I could actually dance in all night (took me ages to find those), the black patent peep-toes I wore for my rehearsal dinner, and my first true splurge bought after I finally had the means to pull the trigger on Louboutins. For each of these, there’s always the story—what I was doing at the time that I found them, where I was, and why they have meaning for me.
For too long, I’ve been uninspired by what’s out there. As both a merchant and discerning shopper, it has been hard to find something truly differentiated. When I think back over the years, all the unique shoes (and other products) I discovered were found on my travels abroad. The thrill of those discoveries is an important part of the buying process for me. Knowing I found “the one” and pulling the trigger brings me immense satisfaction.
Bells and Becks is the culmination of a lifelong dream to combine my expertise and eye for spotting that special gem amidst the “sea of sameness” to bring wearable, luxury shoes that are truly special to you.
Bells and Becks also reflects my personal point of view about the very best shoes, what makes them so special, and the behind-the-scenes stories of how I discovered them. My hope is to bring perfect, hard-to-find shoes directly to you so that you, too, can experience the thrill of discovery in finding that distinct shoe, and in wearing them, you’ll create your own meaningful stories.
Bells and Becks won’t have the biggest footwear collection out there. Quite the opposite, Bells and Becks will be artfully curated and remain special -- a trusted source for exceptional shoes that no one else will have.
I look forward to hearing your shoe stories—from one shoe lover to another…