Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CitySlips: The Shoe That Never Sleeps

“I always wear flat shoes, because I can’t walk in anything else.”
Sadie Frost

Darlings you know me for my love of ballerinas, yet even I have felt the pressure to put on a pair of pumps at times; only, of course, to find myself in all sorts of prickly pain once I oh-so-carefully remove them from my pulverized tootsies. Let’s face it, stilettos are simply scrummy to look at and add an instant sophisticated air to your style du jour – not to mention a bit of lift and a seductive strut and silhouette; but they’re most certainly not practical for racing up and down city streets a la Carrie Bradshaw. Enter CitiSoles; or, more appropriately, CitySlips.

I know, I know, you’ve heard me brag about them before; but honestly, I can’t contain myself. I’ve been in complete and utter adoration of Katie Shea and Susie Levitt, the brainchildren behind these beauties, since I was first introduced to them over the summer. As young, independent women navigating the harsh, cruel world (in heels, no less!), they know exactly how it feels to be expected to don dangerous footwear on a daily basis for a multitude of menial tasks. Thus, they found it only necessary to create a shoe that is fashionable, friendly, inexpensive, and fully desired for the girl about town…CitySlips!

Why CitiSoles…what does this title represent for your business?
CS: We’re glad you’ve asked! Having improved upon our original foldable flat design, we decided to re-launch our product under the new name of CitySlips. It’s a name that we feel communicates the urban relevance of our on-the-go-appropriate foldable flat. In the literal breakdown of the title, the “city” part gives the flats a scene, if you will. It inspires a city-living image, hopefully bringing flashes of bright colors and excitement to mind. The latter part of the name, “slips” is a direct reference to the ease of using the flat and the relief provided by simply slipping them on. Now put the “city” back with the “slips” and you’ve got a pair of words describing some trendy flats that help out city girls and comfort their soles.

When/how did you start the CitySlips line?
CS: As NYU students and petite powerhouses standing no taller than 5'2", we were very familiar with the pain caused by high heels. Classes, internships, and the NYC nightlife all led to painful, aching arches. When scouring the market for an "emergency footwear" product left us empty handed, we used an online platform called Alibaba to manufacture our own! We juggled classroom papers while completing corporate term sheets throughout our senior year, and with the savings of $10,000, we brought the innovative concept of CitySlips to market. It’s now been five months and we’ve sold approximately 3,000 pairs of shoes!

Can you describe the ultimate CitySlips wearer? What type of person do your designs cater to?
CS: CitySlips enjoys quite a diversity of wearers! We cater to girls and women of all ages, and to all of life’s occasions. A CitySlip girl brings her flats everywhere: Sweet Sixteens, wedding receptions, on her to and from work commute, and wherever else she’s trendily trekking about. The versatility of our product makes it such that a “CitySlip girl” is self-proclaimed and self-defined.

What inspires/influences what you create for the CitySlips line?
CS: In the fashion market, women are constantly seeking out dual-purpose, problem-solving accessories. We love being these problem-solvers that women are turning to! We know that everyday activities can irk women unnecessarily when there are simple solutions waiting to be thought of. It’s these realized, irking moments that are truly responsible for our product inspirations. We simply want to make available affordable, super-cute accessories that make women feel absolutely stellar.

You have recently created two other lines to accompany CitiSoles – CitySlips and AfterSoles. How do these differ from your original design and how did they come to fruition? Do you hope to add more to your collection? Do you have aspirations to branch out into different fashion directions (clothes, jewelry, etc.)?
CS: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clarify that CitySlips and AfterSoles are our two shoe products, and that CitiSoles is no longer a name representing our flats. CitySlips is the name for our original product, the portable, foldable ballet flat with expanding tote bag. AfterSoles is a product that developed organically post-CitySlip production. They are a more party-geared flat that rolls as opposed to folds, and are comparable to the size of a cell phone in their compact state. AfterSoles encourage those couple extra hours on the dance floor and conveniently allow girls to throw them in a small clutch. In the same organic way that AfterSoles came to life, we expect (and are currently working on!) other functional-fashion related products. We've got tons of product concepts and ideas in the pipeline, but we’re takings things one step at a time and focusing on our footwear.

If you could create one item, what would it be and why?
CS: CitySlips! We’re invested in our foldable flat and think that it still has so much growth potential. Aren’t you excited just thinking of all the colors, fabrics, and patterns that you may soon be seeing CitySlips in?! We’re still on our original mission—to provide women with a dependable, fashionable emergency footwear solution.

What is the mission of the CitySlips line?
CS: Our company, FUNK-tional Enterprises, LLC, strives to surprise women with functional fashion items that make life easier in unexpected ways. We want to keep our designs and products current, cute, and creative. Innovation is something that excites our team here, so to be innovative and non-traditional is definitely constantly in mind.

Any advice for girls who love fashion/design?
CS: Keep your passion present! Talk about it all the time, and just wrap yourself up in it. The more people you talk to about your thoughts, goals, and dreams, the more concrete and tangible they seem to become. In your exchanges you’ll get feedback and may even make some connections that propel you a little farther down your path of choice.

The holidays are fast approaching…anyone care to “slip” a pair into my stocking?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to CitySlips intern Julia Bassiri for her assistance with this interview!

Thanks to CitySlips, A Girl's Guide to Shoes, and CNN for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Sparkling Sophisticate Giveaway for your chance to win a pair of Keaton Sequin Leggings from BB Dakota.

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