While it is no surprise that when we as women see a shoe we love, we immediately want to put it on our foot to wear, Marcella Gift, creator of the Emme Cadeau shoe line, states that the first reaction women have to her shoes is to run their fingers along the material. Marcella promises that her shoes are not only visually stimulating, but also a tactile experience.
Vivid with color and texture…Clean and elegant silhouettes…Are the phrases Marcella uses to describe her shoe line.
And, that’s something we just have to touch!
So how does one birth a line of shoes so beautiful, that women just have to touch them? Marcella admits that her journey to being a designer has not been a straight line, but as time passes, she knows that there are little breadcrumbs that have led her to this destination.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Marcella moved to the US to attend Dartmouth College, majoring in mathematics – not quite an artistic major. However, she satisfied the creative itch by taking a few art classes along the way. While she eventually entered into the world of finance, where she has been for over a decade, she never did leave her creative energy behind. She describes herself as always being the funky woman in a corporate space, think bold necklaces and bright dresses. Growing up in the Caribbean, texture and color almost becomes part of your DNA.
Marcella realized that even with these creative items of choice, she could never find an interesting pair of shoes that could be appropriate for the office. Sure, she could find black, brown, and beige, however, she wanted something more, that was a little eye-catching, distinctive and of course, every woman’s dream, also comfortable.
And, what do great entrepreneurs do when they see a need for something they cannot find? Go and create it themselves!
So, Marcella says she started going to the Linea Pelle leather shows in New York, where tanneries mainly from Italy would show their offerings. She started by just collecting leathers that she liked. She also visited fabric stores in New York. As time passed, she started warming up to the idea of just maybe designing things that she wanted to buy. We have got to start somewhere, right?
As tantalizing as Marcella’s designs are, it is very important to her that her shoes are also really comfortable. Although we know beauty is pain, Marcella is always thinking of her biggest style inspiration, her mother, when she creates. She remembers the days of hunting for the perfect combination of style and comfort to wear all day – an exercise to which even today’s woman can relate.
And, that is not all Marcella thinks about when it comes to her shoe line. She started Emme Cadeau with a line of ballet flats, for which a portion of the sales goes to the non-profit Trickle Up that helps women in developing countries.
All this inspiration talk, you are probably wondering, where does the name Emme Cadeau come from? Marcella says that while vacationing in Paris, and taking in the history, fashion, and easy chic of the city, the idea for the name came to her. It would reflect the same easy chic sensibility of her brand. With so much Parisian influence, she decided to put a French twist on her own name. Her last name being Gift is translated to Cadeau in French. Her first name starting with the letter M, she decided on Emme. Thus, Emme Cadeau was born.
Each style in her line is also named after a person in her life. Need proof? In the current collection, the Isabella is named after Marcella’s grandmother, who was a true force of nature.
And even though Marcella is also #DreamingMoreThanOneDream working in finance, she admits that in addition to finding a good manufacturer, finances are a major obstacle. Nonetheless, with an optimistic view, she understands that finite resources help her to be laser-focused on the outcomes.
Marcella’s advice to future indie shoe designers?
- Figure out what your aesthetic is and let that be as identifiable as your personality. Don’t try to be all things to all people
- Do your research about the industry, especially if you have not had a chance to work in it.
- It is not going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it. There are going to be times when you wonder what did you get yourself into, (and that is true of any business), but there is a certain pride you feel when you see someone wearing your shoes and loving them!
Great advice for any business coming from a woman whose line has grown from ballet flats to pumps and sneakers ranging from US size 5 to 14!
To shop Emme Cadeau shop here.
And, if you are in Las Vegas check out her collection at Macy’s in the Fashion Show Mall!