When was the last time a man walked a mile in a pair of women’s pumps? That’s exactly what Samantha Dong, the founder of Ally, a new line of comfort-driven pumps for women considered when she decided to step into the footwear arena with her own approach to the category.
Dong, 28, who holds an MBA from Stanford University, realized however, that she needed guidance from an expert in the footwear community in building the brand. She tapped Sara Jaramillo, former Yeezy designer, who serves as head designer, and Dr. Roxann Clarke, a New York podiatrist with extensive experience treating professional women who experienced foot pain from ill-fitting shoes, taking on the role of chief scientist.
With her team assembled, she received financial backing from GSR Ventures and XSeed Capital, as well as several angel investors. She also tapped Jeff Henderson, as advisor, who formerly served as innovation director for Nike and Cole Haan.
According to Dong, the trio of women were determined to alleviate women’s foot pain with a duo of pumps on 3-inch heels that feature a patent-pending 3-point support system that strategically restructures heels so they’re balanced and pressure is not placed on the front of the foot. The shoes are also made of leather that provides just enough give to gently conform to the foot.
“We not only bring our professional experience to the company, but our personal experiences,” said Dong, about working with other women. In fact, while developing the pumps the team reached out to women at networking events for their feedback. The initiative has resulted in Ally’s Circle, a community of over 250 women that come together for events focused on fashion, health, and more in an effort to build a group of women that empower one another.
The introductory Little Black Heel collection of a classic leather pumps retail for $285. They are available online and in Wolf & Badger boutique in New York.
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