When it comes to selling shoes and apparel, the “Meghan Markle effect” is real — and Sarah Flint is one rising designer who’s benefited big time from the Duchess of Sussex’s endorsement.
Speaking with FN in L.A. at a reception held at the Fashion Institute of Merchandising and Design (FIDM) — which followed her speaking engagement with students about entrepreneurship and more — Flint reflected on what it means to have Markle step out in her shoes.
“She’s a wonderful person to have your brand associated with. I think what she’s doing is amazing, and it is a thrill to have anyone you admire wear your shoes,” she said, adding that it helps deliver the message that when Markle and other A-list stars wear her brand outside of glitzy affairs, it shows that a luxury label can serve versatile, relatable lifestyles, too.
“It’s funny because she’s the one who comes up the most often (on Google searches of her brand), but we’ve had Amal Clooney, Blake Lively, Cindy Crawford, Lady Gaga — we’ve had all of these people. What I really like about the way that celebrities wear my shoes, in particular, is that you see them in their everyday lives more than on the red carpet.”
The brand focuses on making styles that are both comfortable and stylish — with a distinctly feminine touch.
After making the switch to direct-to-consumer last year, Flint’s business is thriving. She’s expanded her team from eight to 13, with a move into a new, larger office space.
Below, read more about Flint’s experience building out her business.
A big part of your brand’s messaging is that your shoes are comfortable, as well as stylish. Can you tell us more about that?
SF: I felt like you could pay $800 for a pair of shoes and then they’re so uncomfortable you don’t end up wearing them the way you should. It’s a luxury to be comfortable, as well.
In a lot of your marketing on Instagram and elsewhere, you use phrases like “walk like a woman.” What does that mean to you?
SF: “I always thought what was so crazy is people would say being ultra-feminine in style doesn’t make you look powerful or professional. And I just thought that was crazy because one of the things that makes women powerful is embracing their femininity and all that goes with it, being in tune or sensitive or all those things. So, with “walk like a woman,” I just wanted to say you can wear bows or wear pink and be powerful.”
A lot of products seem to be out of stock quickly and then restocked. Is that a strategy?
SF: “When we sell out of any style, we re-order it. Our goal is to not be out of stock. But in the last year with the switch to direct-to-consumer, we just underestimated the amount of demand that we would have. Our goal is to keep things in stock, but we’re a growing company and we also don’t want to be overstocked. I would rather err on the side of caution than err on the side of being over ordered.”
Charlie Carballo contributed to this story.
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