3 Questions for Chelsea Jones

Footwear newcomer Chelsea Jones has tapped into her passion for sports to design Ciel Bleu, a collection of contemporary comfort looks for women that debuted for spring ’13.

Jones, 28, a marketing and public relations professional based in Vancouver, British Columbia, borrowed technology from the athletic market for the design of the casual styles and high heels. “I researched and decided what components I wanted to use and incorporated them into each shoe,” Jones said, noting that features include cushioned insoles, rubber outsoles and mesh linings for breathability. Jones left the product development to a technician based in Brazil, where the shoes are produced.

For Jones, the brand’s French name has a comfort connection. “Ciel Blue — blue sky — is about being flexible and free in the outdoors,” she said. “The name represents that feeling.”

The debut collection includes seven styles that retail from $155 to $195. Delivery is slated for February. The line has been picked up by Balisi, a three-unit boutique in Toronto, and Check Mate in Calgary, Alberta.

1. Who is your target customer?
CJ:
[She’s] passionate about her profession and always looks to advance. She loves to explore her city and the places where she travels, which means she walks a lot. She’s very stylish in a simple kind of way, not needing to put too much effort into looking great. [This way of living] crosses many age groups.

2. How are you communicating your comfort message to consumers?
CJ:
Our components can be spotted in and under the shoes themselves. And we give a description under all the shoeboxes and on our website. We like to highlight what makes the shoes unique and where they’re made. But we also hope they speak for themselves when someone tries them on.

3. As a newbie to the industry, what’s been your biggest challenge?
CJ:
Getting retailers on board. Many stores love the designs and will offer great feedback. However, to buy into a brand in its first season takes a certain kind of retailer. With so many brands coming at them, some want what’s new and others prefer what’s already working.