Being fashionable can be expensive, particularly if you like high end shoes.. It is not unusual for a pair of designer shoes to set you back $500 to $1000 dollars. Today the sole of the shoe often serves as a designer’s signature – red for Christian Louboutin, cream for Jimmy Choo, pale pink for Prada.
The problem is that when you walk on the streets of any city, those precious soles are going to be scuffed and faded. That’s the problem financier Amanda Collins encountered with her first pair of Christian Louboutins. “When I wore them on the streets,” she recalls, “the soles got all scuffed and spots of the red came off.” When she contacted the designer’s shop they told her to bring them in and they would repaint them for $55.00. “I wasn’t going to pay them to repaint the soles when I knew the same thing would happen the first time I wore them.”
At this point she was growing restless with international banking, after all at the age of twenty-three she created her own company. She came from “a straight forward banking firm; we focused on seeing a problem and solving it.” Her mind kept returning to those Louboutins – a new problem. It was a natural transition: her grandfather emigrated from Italy to Australia was, himself, a cobbler. He created shoes for the stars of the Australian film industry and members of high society. “I grew up very close to him, I would spend hours in his shop.” It was he who drummed into to her only to wear good shoes.
She decided to concentrate on solving the problem of marred soles. Her research revealed that a company in Italy had the perfect product, but couldn’t market it and Save Your Sole (SYS) was born. She partnered with the Italian company, Vibram, to manufacture thin durable soles which could either have an adhesive backing or be attached by a shoemaker. The sole was to durable and colorfast. The thinness is essential so the silhouette of the shoe is not compromised.
Her first product was a durable paint. Save Your Sole was the first company to create a product like this. She put the word out through Twitter and other social media and sold 140 bottles in the first week. This affirmed her belief that there was indeed a market for her products.
The phone rang one day: Manolo Blahnik was on the line. Amanda was sure it was a prank call from her brother, but she was wrong. The legendary designer wanted her to create a clear product that could easily cover the soles of his models’ designer shoes on slippery runways, making the soles safe for models as well as protect the shoes’ soles so they could be returned to the manufacturer with no cost. Blahnik’s show catapulted her product into the limelight, and she began sending out samples and introducing the product to fashion magazines.
A write up in Perez Hilton’s uber fashionable blog really got the business rolling. In 2013, her product appeared in thirteen shows. She had nailed down almost every designer of note…except the one who started this whole journey: Christian Louboutin. She simply could not reach him.
That year she went on a holiday to India with a friend. During the trip, while touring one of India’s beautiful temples, she looked around and saw that there were only four Europeans on the bustling steps of the holy place. She did a double take when she realized the other two were Christian Louboutin and his partner. Being the gutsy entrepreneur, she approached him and her pitch worked. His models now wear her soles at all his shoes.
SYS’ three top markets are Shanghai, the UK and the USA. The Chinese market is another model in her use of modern media for advertising. Nichole Fang, wife of her Chinese distributor, Kenny Li, is a former model and key influencer, who spread the word through Weibo (China’s Twitter). SYS is sold through Taobao, their Amazon.
As a sterling example of the success of SYS and Amanda Collins’ influence in the business community, she has been invited by the British Government to participate in a trade mission to Shanghai, led by HRH Prince William. She will be traveling with other fashion and beauty notables like Jo Malone.
When Amanda related news of the mission her enthusiasm and sense of wonder shone through. She is not in the least jaded by her success, rather she celebrates it while being a diligent caretaker of her product.
MWS is proud to be the sole US distributor of Save Your Sole products. Stock up for Fashion Week with Sole Stickers to keep your models from taking a spill and preserve the soles of your designer shoes!