After years of designing footwear behind-the-scenes for a range of fashion brands, industry veteran Monika Kusinska-Paez is now front and center. Last October, she ventured out on her own with the launch of Autograf, initially sold only online, at Autografnewyork.com.
For fall ’15, Kusinska-Paez is moving into wholesale. Harry’s Shoes in New York and V Curated in Brooklyn, N.Y., are the first retailers to pick up the fashion brand, whose styles come in size 4 all the way up to size 13.
Kusinska-Paez says the made-in-Italy collection fills a void for quality trend-driven looks for a wide range of feet. “I had problems finding a size 12 for myself,” said Kusinska.
The style range is also broad. There are biker and Chelsea boots, oxfords in metallics and ankle-strap wedge sandals in a zebra print.
But for Kusinska-Paez, it wasn’t enough to offer shoes in a wide range of sizes. She also wanted to enhance the comfort factor by using a sachetto construction, wherein the lining and the insole are sewn directly to the upper, creating a small bag for a glove-like fit.
To reach consumers, Kusinska-Paez used Google AdWords and sold on Amazon.com and Etsy.com.
With the shoes retailing from $269 for sandals to $476 for a knee-high boot, Kusinska-Paez concedes that it’s been a challenge to get women to invest, even if the shoes meet their special size needs. On the other hand, some customers have ordered five pairs, she said.