My history/training…

I’ve always wanted to have my own business from a very early age and laughably used to daydream about rushing around with a briefcase on route to very important meetings.  I took a Business Studies degree and chose to start my career in the corporate world to give myself a good foundation to build from. I then spent several years running consumer websites and then my own internet consultancy before launching Upper Street with my sister Katy.  Today I am lucky enough to combine my business skills with my undying passion for shoes.  I’m living out my childhood dream although I’ve substituted the briefcase for a gorgeous March Jacobs handbag these days.

I was first inspired to become a designer by/when…

The idea for Upper Street really came about from my sister Katy’s shopping frustrations. Katy was getting married and wasted hours trawling the High Street and internet looking for her perfect wedding shoes.  Just on the fringe of a total bridezilla flip out, her dress designer brought out her magic wand and introduced Katy to a Hong Kong shoemaker who could create her a bespoke pair.

Katy loved the whole process of picking out the shape, material and colors to create exactly what she wanted for her big day. She soon designed herself a whole wardrobe bursting full of beautiful shoes – shoes to take to her from the office to the bar, to run around in at weekends and for super-glam nights out – every creation was perfect just for her.

When Katy squealed to me about her new shopping addiction, not only did I obviously want in on the action, but I saw our calling to share the secret with other like-minded shoe lovers. Given my background in running online businesses, the idea was to bring the design experience online, so that women all over the world could design their own beautiful shoes without even having to stray from their from the comfort of their sofa.

I am now inspired by…

If I had to pick one person I’d probably say Nicolas Kirkwood. He creates the most amazing statement shoes. I especially love the use of graphic prints in this season’s collection. This has really inspired me to get some Upper Street shoes made up in an unusual print, which we are always happy to do as a special order for our customers.

Upper Street shoes appeal to…

Our customers range from the shoe-obsessed who are now coming back for their umpteenth pair, to brides searching for something unique for their big day. In offering sizes from UK 1.5 to 10, we also attract a large number of women with large or small feet who are being dreadfully underserved by the High Street.  Women react with so much desire and emotion with shoes. For our customers it’s a really special experience to receive the beautiful handmade shoes that they have actually designed themselves. It makes them feel really amazing.

My favourite designer is…

Vivienne Westwood. She’s a real bastion of British style and a total legend in the fashion business. Her designs are so irreverent and quirky, yet she knows exactly how flatter a woman’s body. I also love the fact that she has managed to maintain her independence as a luxury fashion label.

My studio is…

Our studio “The Shoe Lounge” is on the first floor of my home in the Islington area of London. This is a unique place where customers can come and try on shoes and design in a comfortable environment. Our shoe stylists are on hand to show customers the materials and help them create the shoes of their dreams. As one customer called it, “shoe nirvana”.

It’s amazing how many shoe secrets have been revealed in the Shoe Lounge when a bunch of bridesmaids and the bride get together – some are most definitely not for print! I’m not sure whether it’s the relaxed atmosphere that helps, or the glass of fizz they have in hand whilst designing. Either way we love getting to know our customers and their stories.

My best designs/ideas have come from…

I’m no designer (our amazing designer Rosa creates our range) but I do love fashion and am a meticulous wardrobe planner. I’ve always been a big fan of colour and draw inspiration from the catwalk for the colours that will be big for the upcoming season. I then use our iPad app to create a standout shoe that no one else has. I do often get a second opinion from Lizzie, our Customer Relations Manager. She’s a real pro at helping me choose which designs work best with my wardrobe and I have to admit she’s been the creative force behind some of my most treasured creations!

Every bride should…

Every bride deserves to feel totally special on her big day. No one wants a cookie cutter wedding and that goes for everything right down to the shoes that are going to walk you down the aisle. We’ve helped brides design red shoes to match their flowers, ivory shoes with special blue bridal insole for a unique way to incorporate something blue, we’ve even designed shoes in animal print for a bride who was getting married in a zoo! Whatever you choose to wear, you’ll want to experience your first steps into the next phase of your life in shoes that are perfect for you.

Shoe prices start from… £195 ranging up to £350 for more premium materials and complex designs. We also have some limited edition bridal materials available on request.

Customers can create their perfect shoes at www.upperstreet.com or download our iPad App from the App Store.