Call them the yin and yang of the footwear industry. Sisters Emily and Jessica Leung, tired of the limited options when it came to dressy footwear that allowed them to dance the night away in comfort, took matters into their own hands with the 2009 online launch of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hey Lady, a collection of occasion footwear.
Through word of mouth, the twins found themselves with a customer base in more than 30 countries, catering to bridal parties and party girls. But in 2012, Jessica was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which put the business on hold — until now.
Jessica’s full recovery has the sisters back in action with this week’s debut of an updated website featuring a series of new looks that are available for preorder with delivery expected in January.
Jessica’s health scare also put a new spin on the business that goes beyond retailing shoes. The site features a custom app for real-time donations. Every shoe by default directly supports a different cause, with consumers also having the option of choosing from a list of a dozen nonprofit organizations.
“Everything we do with our charity work is going to be either cancer research of empowering women and children,” said Jessica. “Being given a miracle [of my recovery], we have the responsibility to raise awareness and shine a light on causes through Hey Lady. But we couldn’t stop at rare cancer research — we want to do anything that uplifts people.”
With the purchase of each pair of shoes, the company will donate $8 to a charity. With the relaunch of their business, the sisters are also planning to wholesale the line, with $1 from the purchase of shoes bought at partnering retailers donated to a charity.
The collection packs comfort features into every style such as Poron memory foam insoles for enhanced cushioning and arch supports.
Signature looks include the At Tiffany’s, a mid-heel pump with scallop detail, and Champagne Goggles, a pump with faux pearl ornament. Available for preorder is Fancypants, a high-heel ankle strap style, and Fancypants Kitten Heel, a lower heel version, as well as the First Lady, a pump with perfed floral detailing on the upper. Retail prices range from $178 to $348.