All the Questions you ever wanted to ask…
|The Ultimate Strappy 2014- metallic braided leather and beaded silk|
BEHIND THE SCENES Q&A WITHWWD/FOOTWEAR NEWS
We both at the last minute decided on UCLA over CAL and coveredboth North/Liberal and South/Sciences campus. No, we did not discuss it witheach other beforehand and yes, our Asian parents were upset.
Emily: pre-med Biology/English major with a Spanish minor
Jessica: UCLA Mass Communications Major with a specialization inbusiness
PREVIOUS WORKBEFORE HEY LADY
Em: Branding/PR/Marketing/Charity Partnerships for Retail RealEstate
J: PR/Marketing/Intl Account Manager for Chip & Pepper andPR/Marketing for Paige Premium Denim. Myfirst stint during college was assisting platinum wedding events but my firstever job during high school was at Macy’s shoes at $8/hour.
We started Hey Lady during the Great Recession with zeroindustry experience/connections and with only personal savings.
WHY YOUDECIDED ON FOOTWEAR DESIGN
Growing up, we never intended to be designers of anything. We don’t even call ourselves designers, weconsider ourselves entrepreneurs, rebels with a cause.
Footwear spontaneously combusted out of a few very grimace-ymoments- one typical Vegas night, one annulled wedding, a shoe graveyard pileat a wedding- and one rare twin ESP moment that we took as a sign from shoeheaven.
As former marathoners and dancing queens, and as tired childrenof ‘80s style, we felt there was a black hole for both pretty and painless.
WHEN DID YOULAUNCH
We marinated our idea for one week before Emily quit her job andJessica moved from LA and took a year to research/develop and “Frankenstein”our perfect fit. Emily’s kinesiology andanatomy classes came in handy, as well as focus groups, and weekly salsadances. We officially launched in Spring2009 but we unofficially launched in Fall 2008 just so we could have aparty.
HEY LADY INFO
3.5 employees, including us 2
1 consultant “dad” Dana Fried of Nasty Gal
1 dog mascot
WHERE THESHOES ARE MANUFACTURED
PRICE POINT RANGE
FAVORITEMATERIALS TO WORK WITH
Right now-Buttery leathers and sparkly neutrals, filigreeornamentation/art deco inspired pieces, texture texture texture
Classics with a flirty twist
Unexpected but Wear-again-able
Shoes with Sparkly Personalities
We start with words that describe different personalities
Every shoe is inspired from a historical icon, a modern dayingénue, and one of our colorful friends. It has to pass the test of who would wear it back then, now, and aroundus.
Completely original, Whimsical, Flirty/Colorful, Effortless Chic
Past: Audrey Hepburn inBreakfast At Tiffany’s
Present: New Girl Zooey Deschanel
Real Life: our quirky and sophisticated repurposed-jewelrydesigner friend Susan
Luck Be A Lady
Ladylike from the front, but a vixen behind closed doors. A quiet strength with vintage keyhole infront, and romantic, ethereal and overtly feminine from the back.
Past: Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be a Lady/Rat Pack
Present: Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Real Life: our magnetic hostess-with-the-mostest entrepreneurfriend Hazel Grace.
Ultra feminine, luxe, sophisticated, man-eater.
Past: Elizabeth Taylor in Life
Present: Christina Hendricks in Mad Men
Real Life: our bootylicious, martini-swizzling lawyer friendKira
Hey Ladies are timeless fashionistas with effortless style andsparkly personalities. They stand out, own their individuality, and have theirown unique style dialogue. Wallflowers need not apply. They are ageless, from your prom queenteenager to your hip grandma. They areunforgettable.
WHATS THEBIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN IT COMES TO HEY LADY
Growing pains, hiring the right people, and anything to do withChina. This year was the mostchallenging with Jessica in Hong Kong for almost a year for chemo treatmentswhile Emily had to hold down the fort. ButJessica is alive and Emily survived yay.
HOW DO YOUWORK TOGETHER AS SISTERS- WHAT ROLE DOES EACH OF YOU PLAY, AND DO YOU GET ALONGWELL AT WORK
One of our twin life mottos is “Divide and conquer”. This applies both to parties and daily work. Mostly we only see each other when we carpooland meet for dinner. Even at the officewe tend to be in different rooms, that’s probably why we get along 50% of thetime.
Emily has final say on business matters, Jessica oncreative. But the creative is contingenton business mostly in the end right? SoEmily is probably the boss.
WHAT HAS BEENYOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RUNNING THE COMPANY
1. Meeting brides and theirmoms/dads/grandmas/sisters/bridesmaids/fiancées and hearing their stories. We genuinely get very excited for themeventhough we aren’t invited to their weddings.
2. Seeing sketches and visions come to life. It’s like magic.
3. Never doing the same thing every day and bringing our dogto work.
GROWTH OF COMPANY
The first three years we were doubling every year and since thenit’s been a steady increase.
Traveling trunk shows have been an innovative way for boutiquesto showcase all our styles in various locations. No other shoe brands offer that but weunderstand people prefer to see things in person and it gives boutiques theopportunity to test out different styles that may resonate more with theirclients.
It just left Texas and is now in Costa Mesa, CA.
IS SOCIALMEDIA IMPORTANT
Very. We do notadvertise, pay for press, nor solicit social media followers at all. We’ve grown PURELY on word of mouth.
Social Media allows us to speak directly to our consumer, and welisten to them. They are the reason wehave a Wedgie (little wedge) and ballet flat. We have done everything untraditionally from a fashion industrystandpoint, bypassing the whole sales reps/showroom route to launch, and insteadbuilt a direct following online and grew from there.
OVERALL GOALSFOR THE BRAND GOING FORWARD
-Streamline internal infrastructure/build team to support abroader global audience and finding the right team/distributors to build out.
-Partnering with like-minded and out of the box outlets (retailand personal projects)
-Expanding beyond weddings into being more of a one-of-kindstyle resource
-A book on How to Start a Business, Beat Stage 4 Cancer, andDate like a Man.
-We’d love to start a foundation or program to support youngladies to feel pretty inside and out and strive for their dreams. We’re discussing a lot of possibilities andare in the process of adding a Giving tab to our website.
SPECIFICPLANS GOING INTO SPRING 14 AND BEYOND/NEW THINGS YOU’RE WORKING ON NOW
-Designing red carpet One-of-a-kind capsule collections withmore color/texture/details.
-Expanding with more Basics-with-a-twist for every day wear (forourselves really)
-A special 5 year Bday Anniversary commemorative shoebox/jewelry box
-Collaborating more with other talents/creatives such as an upand coming musician for a vintage inspired men’s shoe and our favorite dressdesigner for a modern retro dress
-Bringing more one-of-a-kind accessories and finds to ourwebsite, discovering indie brands
-We will be the national shoe sponsor for the charity Wish Upona Wedding starting in January 2014, proving shoes across the country to couplesin need/terminally ill. This has been inthe works since before Jessica’s diagnosis but now of course it’s even moremeaningful.
WHAT TOEXPECT FOR NEW STYLES
Our next collection will be with less technical limitations andmore creative license since we are working one on one with a manufacturer. It will be more personal and we will betaking it up a couple edgy notches but most importantly be very wearable. Every collection will be worked on as if itwas the last collection ever.
Think Luminescent, Swagger, Oscars, Effortless Chic
-Metallic heaven- Golds, Silvers, Pewters
-Nudes & Nekkids
-Pops of Color and Texture
For example one shoe next year-
The Ultimate Strappy
Past: Greek Goddess
Present: California girl next door meets NY Jennifer Aniston
DO YOU WANTTO HAVE YOUR OWN RETAIL STORE?
Right now probably not, but we do love meeting our girls somaybe down the line.
ARE THERE ANYOTHER FOOTWEAR DESIGNERS YOU ADMIRE?
We are boot girls and loving all kinds but Frye does a greatlong-lasting riding boot. As fordesigners, Gwen Stefani’s LAMB has a unique voice that really shows herpersonality.
Fun questions for each of you
-Who is yourNo. 1 style icon (can be from any era) and why?
Em: Icon #1 Coco Chanel, she went against the grain and made simpleclassic. Modern day would be RachelBilson for put together things in unexpected, effortless ways.
J: I can’t choose. The 3 Kates. The small boob trifecta Kate Moss/Kate Bosworth/Kate Hudson with aclassic Audrey Hepburn silhouette. Edgy but refined, they are the first to takeinnovative risks but aren’t over the top, and they dress appropriately and knowtheir bodies.
-Describeyour everyday style:
Em: Sandra Bullock in the Blindside meets J. Lo meets JenniferAniston
J: The Kates/Angelina Jolie
What is themost stylish city in the world and why?
Em: I loved Monaco. Very chic and put together. Not one Birkenstock.
J: We are from SiliconValley, home of the hoodie and casual M-F.
J: For me, definitely NotHong Kong where anything goes. New York,I just walked a block to get a pizza and everybody was straight out of asartorial dream.
Favoritewedding dress designer and why?
Em & J: FancyNY! They are the epitome of timelesschic. We just saw a preview of Gregory’slatest and greatest and had a field day playing dress up.
Estimate ofthe number of weddings you’ve attended in your lifetime so far:
Em & J: Average about7 a year sine we were 25 so 49 so far. It’ll probably peter out in the next few years as we age?
Mostover-the-top bridal look you have seen:
Em: The straight fromDisney princess look as in real Ariel and Cinderella wigs.
J: Camo everything includingtuxes for a red-neck wedding. It’sactually quite prevalent in pockets of America…
Favorite filmand why:
Em: Coco Before Chanelwas inspirational, seeing where she came from nothing with no connections andwhat she built. Any underdog sportsmovies like Remember the Titans and We are Marshall.
J: Yes, Man with JimCarrey has become our religion.
Em: We are like these movies, total underdogs that just keepgoing.
J: Totally. And sometimes in the morning and late eveningwe look like Jim Carrey.
Also, howdid you choose the name Hey Lady?
We decided on the name impulsively over a 5 mile run.
We knew we didn’t want to name it after ourselves and our 80’sTop 10 babynames, nor did we want to be traditionally “bridal-y”. We ran past some workers and somebody waslike “Hey ladies, nice legs!” Ourofficial name is actually Hey Lady followed by a catcall whistle mp3. We also like the ladylike “Lady” juxtaposedwith a sassy minx-y confidence.
And why didyou choose Mountain View for your location? Thanks!!
We grew up in Silicon Valley (Los Altos) and have witnessed thegrowth of so many inspirational tech companies that have changed life as weknow it (we remember when pagers were cool). Google/Apple/Nasa are all within a few miles of us and we love thestartup buzz, people are just on a different wavelength here, it’s less aboutwhat’s trendy and more about impact. Our parents are also entrepreneurial and we have gradually taken overtheir warehouse.
You andEmily are 32 years old
Youofficially launched Hey Lady in 2009
Hey Ladyprice range (retail) is $168 to $368
Hey Lady isin about 20 specialty boutiques in the U.S., Canada and Ireland
Youre-commerce site has customers from more than 27 countries
Now it’s 28
You openedyour own showroom in 2012
March 2012. We call it aDesign Studio, our tiny creation cave.
Goals fornext year are streamlining infrastructure, red carpet/one-of-a-kindcapsule, neutrals-with-a-twist daytime collection, collaborations with men’slabel and women’s wedding gown label, partnering with like-mindedoutlets/retailers
You areserving as 2014 shoe sponsor for Wish Upon a Wedding
Will debut as national shoe sponsor in January 2014
The abovemission has even more meaning for you now, given that you were diagnosed withnasopharynx cancer last year
J: I was both the worstand best case my doc has ever seen. Worst “upon presentation” and best “unprecedented”comeback, just call me miracle baby. Whenyou are told to start thinking about what you want to do with your last days,and you are given a second chance, you really making these days count.
Don’t be surprised if we go all “James Franco” on you and dip our feet in books/philanthropy/mentorship/stand-up all whilebringing you the best “as if our last” collections ever 😉 Go big or go home.
You havemore treatment ahead but you are feeling good and you’re back at work! =)
I just landed on the mainland and slowly but surely getting backin the groove and am MOST excited to be working on new sketches. My tough boss-twin Emily and me are like cancer-schmancerchemo-schmemo and we’re excited to hit the ground running.
You want towrite a book called How to Start a Business, Beat Stage Four Cancer and DateLike a Man”
We’retwerking on it!
For more on J’s whooping of Stage 4 schmancerpant’s fatass click http://www.toughladieskicksass.blogspot.hk
For more on Hey Lady click About Us In A Nutshell