05 Mar Meet Iris Anson Owner of Solely Original with a private office in East London
Iris Anson owner of ‘Solely Original’ has her own private office in East London where she is able to create custom-made shoes fit perfectly for her clients.
‘Solely Original’ has brought the design choice and unique fit of made-to-measure shoes online. Based in Tower Hamlets, and a private office in East London, they have developed an online platform so that you can experience the services without having to leave the comfort of your home.
By using the innovative 3D Fitting Sock and foot scanner, they can create custom-made shoes that fit you perfectly. Using the website’s design engine, an image of your design is only a click of fingers away. All you have to do is select the shoe and heel style, the materials and the colours. With us, getting your bespoke dream shoes is easy.
Here’s our interview with Iris!
What made you decide to start ‘Solely Original’?
I started Solely Original out of frustration. I was a fashion conscious city professional and I loved wearing heels at work, but too often, I found myself sacrificing comfort for style. But why does it always have to be a trade off? Having researched footwear production, I came to realise how unhealthy and flawed the current industry is. I decided to leave my career behind and to find a solution for women like me. After completing my Footwear Design studies at London College of Fashion, I progressed into training and research on the subject of individual fit for bespoke shoes. I created Solely Original to offer every woman the luxury of comfortable and stylish shoes, fitted to their own measurements.
“What is your inspiration to make your own shoes?”
I believe modern women should live life on their own terms wherever we can, so when it comes to footwear choices, comfort and style are both important and we don’t want to compromise either, so what’s better than designing our own shoes?
What projects are you working on at the moment?
We have some really exciting projects going on at the moment, in particular we’re working with Ruqsana Begum who is a professional boxer and WKA world Muay Thai champion. Together we’re aiming to empower and inspire women, and challenge the narrative of what women are capable of.
“What has been your biggest milestone since starting the business?”
There have been many milestones so far and it’s hard to say which one is the biggest, but one of them is our feature by The Telegraph where the editor tested shoes from a few different brands and our shoes were rated at the top 5 out of 5 stars.
“What message would you like to share with women about your shoes?”
The reason you can’t wear high heels is not because of your feet, the problem is with the shoes!
What is your favourite thing about running your own business?
No two days are the same for me. Especially at startup stage, running a business requires a lot of different skills as I need to oversee everything from manufacturing, marketing, IT, customer service and company legal requirement so I’ve learnt a lot through this experience. Also this has been a very rewarding and exciting experience to see a business grow!
“Why should we buy made to measure shoes?”
No two feet are the same, even your own feet arent usually identical! So with our made to measure shoes you can have comfort, in any style you can imagine!
“What is unique about your brand?”
What makes us unique is that we offer more than only shoes, we truly believe that empowering women is important. We give women the confidence to walk into a board room, down the aisle or even just along the street, without the blister on their heel stopping them from being as powerful as they are!
“What would you say to someone starting out in your industry?”
The ingredients for success are: passion, persistence, people.
“What would you like to see more of in your industry?”
More open mindedness and acknowledgment that beauty doesn’t have to be painful. And that good shoes are not all made in Italy.
“How has the business managed during COVID-19?”
There were minor delays initially due to shipment and production interruptions but we quickly adapted our work environment and managed to stay on top of our customer requests!
“What has been the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?”
Building a fashion brand without a big budget is very challenging. It’s all about the details – on the website, packaging, communications and everything else to create the right brand image, and of course, hiring the best professionals to work on these elements comes at a cost. Most consumers are unaware of what is involved in delivering a custom-made product, with customer service, shoemakers, logistics, designers and a technical team, so we are always bootstrapping to keep our products affordable. We cannot cut corners, however, as providing just a “good” product will no longer satisfy modern consumers – we need to “wow” them!
“What is one thing you constantly struggle with?”
I personally don’t have any struggles, because I believe if you give a girl the right shoes (plus continuous learning and hard work), then she can conquer the world!
“How did you get involved with Smart Works Charity, and tell us what you did with them.”
During COVID, we were actively looking for an initiative to support, then we came across Smart Works Charity that supports underprivileged women going back to work and we instantly felt very in line with our female empowerment brand story so we donated about 70 pairs of our shoes to them.
“Did having a private office in East London positively impact your business, if so how?”
Having a private office in East London means my team can collaborate, bond and lift each other up. Our brand is run by women, for women and it’s important to have a space that can inspire new ideas…and have enough space for all our shoes! If you want to successfully grow your business like Iris, why not find a private office in East London by clicking here Mainyard Studios Locations Follow Solely Original on their social medias: Website: solelyoriginal.com / Instagram @solelyoriginal / Facebook @solelyoriginal / Twitter @solelyoriginal