Founder & Creative Director of Zvelle
Like anyone with a business, my company began with a passionate belief and a determination to do things differently. Zvelle is the product of my belief that all women should walk how they want. This is my story of how I learned to do just that.
Before I even had a brand name I travelled alone to Spain, Italy and Brazil to meet factory owners and learn about making shoes. I learned everything I know about making shoes by sitting next to the craftspeople on factory floors, absorbing everything I could. In the beginning no one would take my meeting and if they did it was to say no. I even received threats from bad factories I didn’t want to work with, but I pushed through and today we work with the best factories in the world. You cannot make up craftsmanship. It’s either there or not. And I wanted to work with the best people who treated their people well and who had great suppliers. I also wanted to make comfortable shoes and make them the way I wanted to make them, in small batches using existing materials all within 100km of our factories. It's a sustainable way to do it and we still do it today. At the time I did it not only to be more sustainable, but because I wanted to meet every single supplier and know them and break bread with them. We still do it to this day and they’re like family to me.
Right from the start I began naming my shoes after women who inspired me and I used the shoes to tell their stories. We have never had a big marketing budget and it's good as it has forced me to dig deep and really tell the stories from a perspective that's all mine. The world doesn’t need another shoe or bag brand, but it does need someone to modernize the way women are portrayed and to challenge perceived notions. Fashion as an industry thrives on women’s insecurities. We are so conditioned to it that we don’t even notice it anymore. Unfortunately for me I’ve always noticed it and feel compelled to do something about it. As I began to promote incredible women and share their stories people in the marketing industry advised me not to share photos of "old women" on our website. These women were in their late 40s and early 50s! People also asked me why I cared so much about diversity. It confirmed my thought that there was a place for a brand that inspired women to be free to walk how they want.
We're excited to welcome you to our first permanent space in the heart of Yorkville, Toronto. We designed our showroom to be personal and intimate with an independent streak. Each piece of furniture has been designed by Elle, or sourced to pay homage to Elle’s Persian background or passion for Italian craftsmanship.