As an executive and long-time retailer, I used to spend my days running from meeting to meeting. Professional travel was a big part of my life, and I often attended trade shows that required hours of walking. I’ve always loved fabulous shoes, and heels were my friend for a very long time. As my roles got more demanding, though, I started to struggle with finding the perfect pair that both looked appropriate and that I could get through the day in.
I can think back to so many situations where I walked around the streets of New York with my worn-in ballerina flats on my feet and my Valentino’s in a bag, just waiting to change in the lobby before every vendor appointment. Eventually I got to a place where I was looking to find appropriate shoes that reflected my sense of style and that I could actually wear all day. As it turns out this was a tall order.
Designers tend to focus on amazing details and unique constructions that aren’t necessarily super comfortable. When on rare occasion a designer hits on a great fashion wearable flat, it’s usually an instant best-seller. That said, it's also usually crazy expensive and out of reach for many.
When I set out to launch Bells & Becks, I knew that I wanted to focus entirely on wearable and versatile shoes, the kind of shoes that I and so many other professional, busy, and stylish women like me are craving but just can’t find easily out there. Here’s how I’m thinking about it:Versatility
I learned a little something about versatility working at Old Navy where for the budget conscious consumer (and let’s face it, we are all on a budget in one way or another) really sought out items that could be worn from day to night or workday to weekend. For me, a great versatile flat that could be dressed up or dressed down, looks great with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt at brunch or with a pair of jeans and a dressy top at dinner, is perfectly versatile. Here are a few of my favorites that started me thinking about this idea:
The concept of wearability is clearly resonating for consumers. Time and time again I would look around and see women with a ton of style that I would have otherwise expected to see in heels wearing shoes that they could actually walk around in. I’ve also noticed a trend with wearable designer styles that become an instant hit. The Gucci mule that is all the rage is the perfect example of a style that represents wearable fashion.
I would argue that it’s an even bigger hit because it’s totally wearable. Gucci has essentially endorsed the wearable flat shoe and made it “cool”.
The result, as if so often the case, is that these types of shoes get knocked off by lower tier brands trying to get in on the action. There isn’t enough of this offering out there, and even when it is offered, it’s incredibly expensive and out of reach for most. Here are a few other examples:
Comfort vs. Comfortable:
Bells & Becks shoes are not considered “comfort” shoes which is a classification of footwear in the market that has a particular set of attributes and often a look and feel that tends to the traditional. Comfort shoes have true comfort features: extra insole padding, rounded toes, and specific type of arch support. In order to accommodate these functional attributes, the shoes are typically not very modern looking and certainly don’t fall into the category of “chic” footwear.
While Bells & Becks shoes are not “comfort” shoes in the traditional sense, they are nonetheless comfortable because they are all leather (and therefore breathable), they have good padding, and because they are made in some of the best factories by artisan shoemakers that have tremendous experience in this craft, they are made from shoe constructions that work well for the foot. Ultimately, Bells & Becks shoes are both comfortable and sophisticated.
Here’s what some of our customers are saying about Bells & Becks:
“The quality of the leather is amazing - soft and supple yet durable” – Kat M
“I love the versatility of the shoe - it can be easily dressed down with jeans or dressed up with slacks, skirt, or dress” –Sarah
“Aside from being really beautiful and pretty special they are also crazy comfortable” –Adrienne
Stay tuned for lots more wearable, chic footwear from Bells & Becks.