The footwear industry’s top players assembled for FN’s “Women Who Rock” event on Wednesday night in New York.
Leading the conversation on being a woman in business included Susanne Botschen, co-founder of luxury e-commerce destinations MyTheresa.com and MarthaLouisa.com, designer Suzanne Rae Pelaez and footwear designer Chloe Gosselin.
Commenting about the hardest part in launching a business, Pelaez explained that the challenge is in finding a niche. “It’s trying to find where you belong,” she said during the panel, which was moderated by FN executive editor Katie Abel. “Fashion is so fast.”
As for Botschen, who launched dedicated shoe site MarthaLouisa.com in March, the key is to get your brand known. “We would have started earlier, but we had a three-year noncompete [agreement],” she said. (Neiman Marcus Group acquired MyTheresa.com in 2014.)
Now, with MarthaLouisa.com off the ground, Botschen is utilizing her platform to support young designers. She said, “The good retailers discover them by themselves, to be honest. To support, you can give them a platform to make them known.”
Getting down to product, the panelists discussed the ideas of practicality and femininity. Gosselin shared: “It has been an important part of my business for women to feel comfortable in heels and flats.”
She added: “You wear heels for yourself, not a man.”
Pelaez, who uses fashion to combine her interests of feminism, art and socioeconomics, announced that she will be launching sneakers for spring ’19.
Separately, Botschen said, “It’s modern to walk on block heels and small heels. You can call them grandma shoes, but it’s a modern vibe.”
The “Women Who Rock” event was sponsored by Keds, Bluescape, Dansko, FN Platform, Zappos, Caleres, New Balance and Wolverine.