With bright pops of color, interesting textures, and quirky silhouettes, footwear designer Charlotte Stone and her namesake label tick all the right boxes when it comes to the perfect shoes. This brand has been on my radar ever since discovering them while at a press preview some time ago.
The great news is that it seems that I’m not the only one loving these whimsical statement makers. Now with more major retailers (such as Anthropologie) carrying the line, the secret is definitely out. I’m guessing that this cult must-have is soon to be on the feet of every style-savvy starlet in the coming year.
But this Canadian native turned California babe is proving you don’t have to do just one thing. From designing a line of furniture with her husband to running her successful business, Charlotte is the perfect boss babe to finish out the last ATPB designer spotlight of the year. So read on, pretty birds! We promise, we’ve saved the best for last.
You grew up in a home full of graphic and interior designers – how do you feel this helped you become the designer you are today?
The most important take-away from watching my parents run their own creative businesses was seeing them hustle. They have a great partnership and help each other stay motivated and positive. My husband and I do this now. We help out when help’s needed and lean on one another when creative inspiration low.
When did you first decide to start your namesake label?
I never thought I would have my own line. I really enjoyed working freelance for other brands and collaborating on various projects, but there were limitations and I was always designing for someone else’s vision. Starting my own line was a way to see my unexplored ideas come to life!
What are some of the challenges you faced early on when starting your own company?
The biggest challenge I faced (and still face) is keeping the ideas focused and the collection reigned in. When no one is giving you parameters, and the sky’s the limit and it’s easy to get off track. Keeping the line tight and edited is the best way to get my point of view across, but it’s not easy to do.
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration, source materials, etc.
I’m always inspired by my surroundings, everything and anything. Sometimes I’ll notice a colour combination somewhere, and then I’ll start seeing it everywhere and that’s when I know I’m on to something. I get materials from my friend who designs leather in Italy, I’ll start playing around with a palette and then start sketching into any ideas I’ve had milling around. It all circles around comfort and color.
What tips would you share with someone wanting to break into the industry?
I would say that, having a super clear vision of your aesthetic and customer is huge. That might seem obvious, but when you’re the only person to answer to, and want to explore every idea, you can get off track easily. Learn to explore while keeping your core customer in mind, because in the end, the shoes gotta sell.
You and your husband also work on a furniture line together, as well as your shoe label. Can you share with us some tips on how to manage work-life balance while working with your partner?
It is not easy, let me start there. Spending 100% of your day in the same studio and home with the same person can get tricky. Our solution to avoid conflict is to make meetings. We plan out big conversations so we’re not constantly interrupting each other’s flow, and do them at times when we’re both chill (like not Monday morning at 8am). The other thing we do is take time outside of the our work space to have fun and get inspired. Art days, or camping, or road trips. Removing ourselves from both home and office helps to reboot our poor brains!
If you could describe the aesthetic of the brand in three words what would they be?
Confident. Feminine. Unexpected
Now in the age of social media, how do you feel it impacts a business, and what ways do you feel your brand embraces it?
Social media is essential for anyone in business these days. When I was doing my line, but still freelancing on the side, we dabbled in Instagram, but it wasn’t our focus. Now, it’s where we connect with our customer, where we introduce new styles, talk about what we’re up to. It’s our voice out there to the world. It’s unbelievable who you can reach. As far as how its impacted our brand, well, I’m not sure we’d be here without it. We didn’t have a budget for big trade shows or PR companies when we first launched, we just started posting about the line and word spread.
What do you think someone should look for when investing in a quality pair of shoes?
I think the first thing one should look for is the quality of the upper material. Good quality materials will last longer and wear beautifully. Also, weirdly, I like good quality outsole material! Nice leather soles or crepe rubber tends to wear better and is more comfortable, and bottom line, if it’s not comfortable, I’m not wearing it.
What trends do you see coming up in footwear?
Heel interest! I love all these interesting heel shapes and treatments that are happening right now. I’m a total sucker for a lucite or wood heel. And colored metallic! I don’t know if it’s a trend but I’m loving it.
What are some of your favorite pieces from your current collection?
FALL 17 – My two favorites from the fall line are the Daria boot and the Moe pump. The boot is made with Italian calf leather and has this super sexy angular heel. And the Moe is this vintage inspired pump with a high topline that feels really current. In white they feel really modern and chic.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Take more chances. Roll the dice a bit with your own personal style by adding a bright color or layering some wild prints. And ALWAYS, make it about the shoes!