We Celebrate International Women’s Day!
At Solely Original, we believe in female empowerment all around the world. On March 8th, we all celebrate women’s rights by acknowledging our social, economical, cultural and political achievements throughout the years. There are many women that have shown the world that what matters most is not someone’s gender, but how strong and determined we are!
We love the story of Jo Malone and how inspiring her life journey is! She is the founder of two fragrance brands – Jo Malone & Jo Loves. Working in the industry for decades, Jo had to overcome many challenges to achieve her dream. Jo had a difficult childhood, she suffered from dyslexia, but at 8 years old, she started helping her father selling paintings and working with her mother on a small, skincare line. These circumstances didn’t become an obstacle for her to pursue her passion, but helped her mature at an early age. ‘I am intrigued by the whole concept of buying and selling’ she told Financial Times journalist Kate Burgess. ‘I love creating something and making someone want to buy it. I am a merchant at heart’.
Photo of our Founder, Iris Anson, with Jo Malone
When Jo was a child, she created perfumes from flowers in her garden. By the time she began making perfumes as an adult, she hadn’t had a day of formal training, due to dyslexia. Jo Malone opened her first store in 1994 and 5 years later she managed to launch her flagship store in London and sold her company to Estée Lauder. Unfortunately, 3 years later, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer. Doctors told her that she would only have a small chance of survival from breast cancer, but after one year of extensive treatments, she came out stronger! Not only did she win her battle with cancer, but she felt more empowered to return in doing what she loved. In 2011, she announced the launch of her new fragrance company ‘Jo Loves’ saying ‘Fragrance is absolutely what I love so I’m so excited to be back’ .
“When life closes a door on you, it opens a window, but it’s up to you to find it!” – Jeannette Walls
Another inspiring story comes from Iris Anson, the founder of Solely Original. Iris, after many years of suffering from her own shoe shopping experience, created the company to offer a solution for women like her to own the best of both comfort and style. To pursue her passion, she quit her well paid corporate job and retrained in Footwear at London College Fashion. After her research and study, she came to realise the problems of today’s footwear industry, which is full of standardised footwear made for average foot shapes. But, everyone is unique and so many women are compromising style over fit/comfort causing long term health issues, something that particularly tackled Iris’ interest into pursuing it more.
That is when Solely Original came to life, offering the opportunity for women to design their own made-to-measure shoes that are affordable and available all over the world. As a business with customer’s convenience & needs at heart, we’ve created a 3D Website Designer to allow women to be creative and see their own shoe design come to life.
Photo of Solely Original Founder, Iris Anson
In her own words, what do Solely Original customers think of the brand? “Solely Original was founded for those who need comfortable, fitting, fashionable shoes – everybody.” It’s her desire to create something that will empower all women to find their dream shoes with the perfect fit for them.”
What has been crucial for her to grow her own business? “Putting myself out of my comfort zone. Regardless if it’s cold calling suppliers or speaking on stage to an audience of a thousand, I would push myself forward as long as it’s something good for the business.”
What is her advice for new Entrepreneurs? “Being an entrepreneur is tough, so make sure you are really ready and prepared for it! Running a start-up is not about stopping problems from happening, it’s about resolving problems when they happen. Don’t get bogged down when a situation occurs, learn how to pick yourself up again.”
What do Solely Original customers say about the brand? “Thank you for helping me with my beautiful wedding shoes. I didn’t think I could get a pair like it with my feet problems.. best service ever! Loved them so much and will be coming back for more!” Emma Young, via Facebook