Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Concept : VENUS

Venus was inspired by Versace's Spring Summer 2011. Saw this dress and got inspired to design a shoe along similar lines. Of course with any inspiration, it doesn't look exactly like the original thing that inspired, but more of an adaptation. If it was, it would be copying. lol.

Velcro strap is an experiment. May not always turn out classy but in this case, it turned out quite well. Plus, GlamRockChic is always about practicality. We understand girls don't like spending too much time fiddling with metal buckles, hence we always experiment with other options. While the velcro strap is not a new discovery, it's not always used for designer shoes, more likely you'll find it on sports shoes, of course.

The leather's incredibly soft for this shoe to prevent the material from cutting into the toe area. 
Toe ring shoe is not too popular but we don't see why. Love it as it allows the other 4 toes to be relatively free! For this case as it's on high heels, we couldn't allow just the big toe to be encased in the toe ring and the others to be totally free as it wouldn't have worked as well as if it were a flat. So we had to place a smaller strap that connects to the toe ring to hold the 4 smaller toes, making it easier to walk.

This shoe is especially good for bunions as it's not constrictive, doesn't touch the sensitive areas.

Road test verdict? Slight pinch on the small toe area but nothing too major. Our friend with the fire red toes (quite a lot of stares) was walking fast in a shopping mall for 2 hours for our road test so it's quite extreme. If you were to wear this to work, for an event, it shouldn't hurt, except for minor calf muscle ache at the end of the day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where to learn the craft of shoemaking

If we had charged for every email that comes in asking "where can I learn how to make shoes?", we will be very rich by now.

Not only do we get emails like this, we also get questions on how to go about starting a shoe business. I think personally, we are still figuring this out but it's nice to know that people think enough of GlamRockChic to ask. However, it would also be nice for some people to say thank you when they receive our long, detailed replies :-(

So we will dedicate some time here to answer some questions. One of them is where can I learn to make shoes in Malaysia?

Frankly, go overseas to learn! You'll come back more exposed and learned. But if u don't have the cash, there is this INSEP footwear program that was spearheaded by the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association (MFMA) and the government to increase our youth's industrial skills, esp in footwear.

Read about it here  

Sorry, this is the only best thing I could find which explains it. They don't even have an official website, hmph.

Check out their FB page here 

I had been quite interested in participating in this 2 years ago, but alas, there is an age group limitation. 28 years and below. Why? I don't really know, maybe because it's targeted to youths and to increase their interest in a dying trend of hand made shoes vs machine churned shoes.

Frankly, i think it sounds ageist. I think it should be about people's interest and motivation, not about the age. Perhaps the government just want young people to replace the old masters who will not have the strength one day to make shoes anymore. I can understand that it's hard to find young people who want to spend all day in a shoe filled factory, cutting, glueing, lasting, skiving, etc for low pay and that's why the Manufacturer's Association is hoping to do something to address this so that they can continue to get young blood to support their manufacturing business.

Do check them out anyway, it's a paid for thing by the government for the duration of 8 months and you must then commit to working in a factory or shoe company they assign you to. So unless you are really interested to last shoes everyday till your hands bleed (have you seen the hands of master shoemakers? forget manicures ladies), don't join just to learn the craft for fun. It's not like a beading or silver smithing  or art class where you come, have fun as and when you like. Join only if you really love the art and craftsmanship of hand made shoes and want to hone your skill in it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Collection 4

Collection 4 is out now!
Titled 'I am fierce, hear me RAWR' is really about female empowerment. I believe women are becoming very vocal with their fashion choice and are not inhibited by colors, textures, statement heels, etc. We want to look good and different, especially in this age of technology, being able to fully access information on trends worldwide, powerful fashion and beauty images, etc.Women demand more now than before and it is GRC's pleasure to be able to contribute to more individualistic designs.

I am fierce, hear me RAWR is not about extremely fierce looking shoes, spike and studs everywhere, etc. Although I must admit I do love chunky hardware on shoes but I will reserve that for some other day.
Fierce is a mental state of mind, not about being scary.
It's about looking and feeling good about yourself, achieving anything you set out to achieve.
It's about girl power.
Women will rule the world someday, and it's good to have fab shoes when that happens! lol

We will be sharing more insights / personal stores on each shoe design, the why and the hows in following blogposts. Millions of thanks to the incredible girls who have stood by GlamRockChic despite the slow and arduous wait!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Customer service

Today, I was made to feel very low about myself and had me doubting my marketing skills as well as my customer service skills.

Never in my life, I would actually think someone could make me feel so badly, it was like a bad interrogation with a young entrepreneur.

All I can say is, there is a fine line between being a dynamic entrepreneur and an arrogant one. Doesn't mean that you've won a TV show and become the ambassador for youth entrepreneurship or that your business got acquired by a big conglomerate means you can be so arrogant about the way you dig information and hammer a person about marketing priorities.

What made me feel extremely bad is the way it ended up looking like as though I didn't care much about customer service and that it was not an important enough priority to me.

Somehow, it felt too late to even justify my point of view and the sheer cockiness of Mr-I-am-right-all-the-time's face seemed not worth it.

Customer service and satisfaction is the most important thing to me. The night deliveries, packing shoes in the middle of the night to meet someone's last minute deadline, relentless tracking of shipment status on behalf of customers, many calls to Australia post to settle a problem out of my control and writing personalised notes to each of my direct customers - just shows how much I care about people who buy shoes from GlamRockChic.

If at all, I am the greatest believer of the Zappos delivery happiness culture and a big champion on improving customer experience, no matter what, not because it's a marketing thing to do, but because I really am appreciative of anyone who would even part their money to buy my creations.

To have customers coming up to me when I was working in a boutique and say thank you for the incredible turnaround on customer service in your team was the most gratifying thing I could ever hear.

How could I have let a stranger who has high IQ but little EQ finesse in interviewing pull me down so much that I begin to feel so bad? How could someone who exudes so little warmth contest me on the importance of customer service?

Not all entrepreneurs are as nice as they are made out to be in the press.

My advice to rising entrepreneurs is, be humble, be open minded, be gracious and above all, be kind to whoever you meet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Goodbye to my Heart & Soul

Every GlamRockChic shoe is a baby of mine.
I have seen them from a piece of sketch to prototype to finished product.
A lot of me (sweat, blood and tears, many tears) go into each shoe, so I always try my best to keep each of them properly.

But sometimes, you can't always wipe down your shoes or restuff the tissues into them to maintain their shape. Kudos to you who have that time to do so, I don't. Maybe if I spent RM5000 on a pair of shoe, I would make that time....but that will never happen anyway.

The most I do is not to drive in them. I drive in my slippers that's always in my car.

Today, it's time to say good bye to my first pair of Heart & Soul. It was a sample made for me at the beginning of my work relationship with my factory, to test the overall feel and quality of the shoe. It's been with me for over 2 years and I've worn it everywhere and very ferociously as well, with the intention of testing it's durability. Even to China for an outpost promotion with Parkson, where I stood (yes, for real) from 9.30am to 9.45pm in them. As comfortable as they are, when you actually stand for such a long period of time, it affects the calf muscles as well as the tension spots, like the ball of the foot. So ladies, don't stand at one spot in a high heel for such a long period of time. I only do that because I was selling my heels! I couldn't wear flats as I didn't design any back then.

This is how it looks like after 2 years of ferocious wear. Not too bad I must say except that the PU leather at the front has started to flake and untuck itself from under the platform. My fault for not moisturising the gold PU part. But the sheepskin lining is still in perfect condition, which is why I LOVE using leather. Sorry PETA, I really do love animals.

Very little dings at the back of the heel. I've always been very clumsy and more likely scrap the back of my heel on stairs than any girl I know, so with such minimal scraps on the red heel, it was good. I am starting to be more ladylike, maybe. Perhaps not driving in them as well as playing footsie with the chair's legs helped.

Sorry about the white marks/scratches on the red heel if you get them but when it's PU leather with white cloth backing, it usually happens, you just have to be a bit careful. I will not be wrapping my heel in PU leather anymore! 
Goodbye my friend. You have served me well.
In the case of the wise partner's saying "You've ROI-ed them enough. Time to chuck".

ROI-ed (achieved sufficient return on investment in terms of getting enough wear out of them, enough compliments, enough admiration, self gratification to match up to what you paid for)

Please don't quote me in business class.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lessons from Rodarte

Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. I like the name of the brand and the way it represents today's new generation of ultra cool designers without heritage (think Gucci, Dior, Givenchy) that can get away with high price tag for their products (others being Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Thakoon, Jason Wu).

But I especially like them because they are not pretentious. At least, they don't seem to be with their dressing. In most cases, people who don't know Rodarte would be surprised when told that these two seemingly un-fashionably garbed sisters are designers who are very much respected and supported by the fashion industry, including editors like Anna Wintour herself. Of course they make really weird stuff/prints/mish mesh/socks with holes which get the buzz going.

How many times have I seen people trying too hard to look cool just because they are in the fashion industry and they must match up to the general opinion of how a fashion oriented person should wear/look like. They either look very elegant or grunge, dressed to the nines, plastered with statement accessories, etc etc.
Rodarte sisters just look like two sensible minded librarians who could make awesome clothes.Comfort over style for them. So what.

Not to mention they make/collaborate with other shoe designers to consistently create cool shoes too.
 Images from Vogue Italia

In a sea of designers/fashion bloggers who sometimes try too hard to look cool (even I am ashamed sometimes I think too hard and pile on the unnecessary accessories just to match up to expectations), I'd say the Mulleavy sisters are the real rock stars. Bottom line is, never judge a book by its cover. The nerd sitting next to you may be very very creative and could be the next big thing in fashion. And the pierced, tattooed, punk head could be really good in finance and accounting.

Who's to know, right?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Special edition Heart & Soul

Gosh, this post is way overdue. I wanted to blog about it but somehow forgot and also forgot to wish the lovely Kim on her wedding!

Heart & Soul has somewhat become a favorite with brides, without intentionally designed with that in mind. It has also become one of the most popular shoe and like a signature of GlamRockChic. I just wanted to do a heart shape on the shoe as i like cut outs and was inspired by Alexander Mcqueen's pumps with heart shaped peep toe opening. My friend said she didn't like the shoe at all. 'Tacky' was the word she used right to my face. Yes, u gotta love friends right? So forthright rip-my-heart-out-and-spit-on-it. Stomp stomp. But it's all good because her disliking it seemed to make other girls love it. Perhaps she should say tacky to all my shoes. The more she dislikes, the better they sell. *pray*

I think the big heart on the feet is quirky and ideal for the most romantic day of your life that makes it a fav. Plus it's a break from the traditional white, satin pump with a bow that you usually would find for wedding shoes or the glittery diamante encrusted strappy sandals that's terribly stiff and chafes the feet.

My factory hates to make this shoe, by the way. Because they had initially struggled to get the heart shape right when making the paper pattern, so it was a constant revision until i finally feel that they have done an okay job on the shape. Making it wasn't easy and fitting it wasn't also the greatest as different feet fit differently in the shoe, so, it means that on feet A, the heart looks nice, on feet B, the heart may not look so much like a heart. Dah, i could go on forever on this. But it's more or less decent now.

Kim wrote to me and asked if I could change the Heart & Soul to the material she wants. Like leopard print and do away with the red heel, replace with gold. I was a bit apprehensive at first as knowing that my factory hates making this shoe, hates taking 1 off orders/customization and hates me for bothering them during their peak season before  X'Mas and Chinese New Year.  I knew it was going to be tough. But I also knew that they were working on repeat production of my Heart & Soul and so it shouldn't be so hard to slot in 1 extra for Kim with her leopard print and gold heel, rite?

Luckily, because Chinese people don't like to disappoint brides, they agreed to do this one off. But it took a heck of a long time as Kim wrote to me in Nov and we finally were able to deliver the shoes to her at the tail end of March. After CNY, there was a shortage of manpower and things dragged. Many nail biting episodes and constant chasing and pleading on my part later, the shoes were delivered to me. Just in time.

Kim, am sorry I didn't wish you again on your wedding day but if u are reading this, thank you for your support and kind understanding. I don't know if u wore it on your wedding day eventually or went with another shoe, but thank u for even considering and waiting so long for it. Sorry I couldn't allow you to do more with it as it would have been too costly for you, so I hope you are happy at the end.