When Tintisha Sagar was contemplating the perfect gift for her shoe-loving mom’s 50th birthday, the decision was an easy one. But, instead of scouring the market for just the right pair, she decided to make them herself.
With no formal footwear training, Sagar turned to Skillshare.com, an online learning community offering classes in design, where she found Keiko, a footwear craftsman who was instead offering workshops out of her New York studio.
There, Sagar learned the skills necessary to turn her original gift idea into a comfort-based footwear collection under the T & N by Sagar name, which launched this month on Tandncollection.com.
Sagar, who holds an MBA in finance from Columbia University, serves as the New York-based company’s creative director, while sister Natasha Sagar, who has a B.A. in supply chain management, handles logistics.
The single-style collection focuses on a ballet flat available in five novelty leathers. The India-sourced shoes feature soft nappa uppers, cushioned leather-lined footbeds and outsoles that incorporate a whimsical TPR footprint design.
“The shoes are luxuriously comfortable,” said Sagar about the line, which retails from $150 to $200. What enhances the comfort, she noted, is an elastic topline that stops just short of the heel quarter where foot irritations can occur.
Sagar plans to add companion looks to the classic ballet style. However, she noted, flats will remain the common thread.
When designing the line, Sagar had the 20- to-55-year-old woman in mind. “It’s for people who are confident in themselves,” she said. “They want to be different. They’re trendsetters.”
To add a novelty touch to the line, the collection features the company’s logo in gold metal letters at the back of the shoe, along with a coordinating gold bow charm with crystals. And for those who want to add a personal touch, a circular charm dangling from the bow can be engraved with their monogram for an additional $30.
The Sagars have also made philanthropy a part of their business model. According to Sagar, a portion of gross sales will be donated to Rang De, an India-based foundation that reaches out to underserved communities through microcredit.