Maybe hope IS a strategy

 

Song of the day: Wouldn’t it be nice by the Beach Boys

 

A few years ago we held a contest on The Bright Side Project  where we asked people to name their favorite song lyrics and tell us why. One woman chose the song “Wouldn’t it be nice” because she loved the hopefulness of being young, in love and excited about the future. When I listened to it with new ears, I noticed that it had a way of being optimistic in a very lighthearted yet expectant way, and I liked that sentiment.

 

I think we carried a very similar sentiment when we started Charmone. We had big dreams about getting into stores, getting our shoes on Natalie Portman, and getting press like InStyle, Lucky, Style.com, etc. Although we were driven and purposeful, we were at the same time lighthearted and optimistic. When all of those things actually happened, I don’t think we realized that it was hard or unusual. It was like we just thought “wouldn’t it be nice?” and it actually happened.

 

When hard times hit, both personally and professionally, I think we lost a lot of that foolish optimism. And for awhile I thought that would help us- I figured it was time “to get serious.” Getting serious meant getting “realistic”, which unfortunately was not pretty, as reality had become somewhat dark. On some level I hoped something super cool would come out of the darkness- some awesome artistic statement. But it never happened. Instead we just felt limited.

 

Now I’m feeling that optimism again. Maybe less foolish, maybe more subtle, but recently I woke up and thought…why not hope? Why not dream? The best designs we’ve ever created (and also our best sellers) were born out of not knowing any better than to hope for the best. I’m excited about the future again- are you?

 

What’s in a Name?

Song of the day: That’s Not My Name by the Ting Tings

 

One of my favorite shoes in our new collection is the Samantha. With its vegan, eco-friendly faux lizard print, the Samantha is very pretty, unique and versatile- just like the girl it’s named after – my daughter Sam.

 

Since we started creating shoes with a purpose several years ago, we always try to come up with a naming structure for each collection that’s fun and relevant to us.  We’ve named shoes after butterflies, wildflowers, spices, and great artists. We’ve even named shoes after musicians and designers we admire (the Gabrielle is named after Coco Chanel and the Diane – for Diane von Furstenberg).  It may sound unimportant, but it helps to have a naming structure while designing as a way to inspire us and keep us on track with something cohesive.

 

In our latest collection, we decided to use our own names, including Samantha’s. Since she was a small girl, she’s been our biggest fan and best salesperson, and she’s always is eager to suggest designs and demonstrate very strong opinions along the design path (I’m starting to think she’s watching too much Project Runway).  She’s only 10 but she’s mature beyond her years.  I’m proud that she takes our mission of creating beauty while being kind to animals, the earth and people seriously. I hope that as she pursues her own life goals she keeps and expands on these principles in all of her endeavors.  She’s already started this past summer with a focus on organic gardening at camp.

Sam was really thrilled to have a shoe named in her honor and we hope it will be our best seller yet!

 

Sam the Shoe

Sam the Girl

 

 

Maybe this time

Perfect introduction to our trip- from the Milan airport

 

Song of the Day: Maybe This Time

 

Its hard to read,but the sign above says “Every Step I Have Taken in My Life Has Led Me Here Now.” What a perfect welcome back to Italy! I’m finally upright enough to write after the major “come down” from our epic Italian adventure. And what an adventure it was! I haven’t been that inspired stylistically, artistically and emotionally in a long time, nor laughed that much. Italy itself is so inspiring- their focus on food, art and fashion lights up the senses and makes you come alive in ways you forget about during your routine at home.  Since returning I have been in the mood to wear very high heels, big jewelry and anything hip-hugging that I can find. And there’s a lot to hug after all that pasta, but the heels counterbalance me!

 

Most importantly, I’m happy to report we have a new collection coming soon and we found everything we wanted and more. As soon as we can get photos we’ll post them- even before shoes are delivered. Styles coming soon include:

-          Tall boots!

-          Sexy sky high platform evening shoes- maybe even in a bridal color!

-          Workhorse work pumps in high and low!

-          Cute little trainer tennis shoes!

 

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and Like us on Facebook so you can be the first to see photos and order- all shoes will be limited in quantity!

 

I’ll be posting lots more photos and videos from our trip, but in the meantime just wanted to give special props to my business partner Lauren for surviving a week of traveling with me 24/7 in intense heat- we got to 110 one day! Oy!

Italian Adventure 2011

Lucca, Italy

Song of the day: The Adventure by Angels and Airwaves

We’re headed back to Italy tonight! Its been a long year of NOT blogging and NOT going to Italy and thankfully that is about to change! We’re headed to Milan, Lucca and Lecce in search of a new factory with scores of new designs, including: the perfect walking shoe, tall lace-up boots, sexy black sandals and work-to-evening style slingbacks!

I’m excited and nervous. Excited for obvious reasons, nervous about finding the right people to work with, making this really work, managing excitement and disappointment and the roller coaster of this business. We’re smarter now though. I think!

Stay tuned for more from the road- ciao!

Here we go, life’s waiting to begin….

 

Make it work people (ode to Tim Gunn)

Song of the day: Dog days are over- Florence & the Machine

 

When I picked this song I had no idea whether dog days were good or bad. And I like it that way, because the period of time that is over for me can’t be easily classified as good or bad. It was the best of times and worst of times. In terms of love, friendship, laughter, joy- the best – and in terms of fear and insecurity driven by financial troubles- the worst.  

So I’m happy to say my days of unemployment are over and I’m back in San Francisco. I couldn’t be happier to be here, it feels much more “right” other than the sad fact that Lauren’s family is so far away. I’ll keep working on them to move, but in the meantime, we’re back to our long distance partnership, which is what we’re used to anyway. With both of us working full time, its time for Charmone to transform. The question is… into what?

The truth is, we don’t know. All we know for sure is that we like designing shoes. We love the creative process, and together we’ve tapped into something that I certainly didn’t know I had… although I bet Lauren knew she had it all along. My ideal situation would be to find someone that wanted to handle marketing and distribution, but needed someone to crank out designs and go to Italy twice per year to have the shoes made. We could easily do that while working full time (believe it or not!). Overall I’ve found that doing marketing for someone else is fun, but for some reason doing it for myself… not so much. It just doesn’t feel right when it’s a product we’ve made ourselves. I know that sounds backwards but it’s almost too personal, its like hawking your own baby. Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

A lot of entrepreneurs, especially in fashion, won’t admit to working full time. For me, it’s oddly freeing. I can be creative without pressure. I can create a bunch of things that don’t work in order to find the one thing that does, and I can be more patient. Not so when you don’t have income coming in. A lot of people will tell you to commit 100% to your business and quit your day job so that you’re forced to work harder to succeed. I get that, but lack of security didn’t really empower me, it scared me and made me feel paralyzed. I got more freaked out and afraid to take risks, and that’s just not good when you have any business, particularly a creative one. So if you’re a struggling designer or artist of any type, don’t feel like a sell-out if you have to work full time. That’s life. The benefits in working for someone else go far beyond income- you learn so much more and gain a broader perspective on things than when you isolate in your own little entrepreneur/artist world. And you never know who you’ll meet or where your job will take you – it was "working for the man" that led me to meet Lauren and I can't imagine life without her.

 

So embrace it, and “make it work people”! 

 

A fun night with "The Abominable" at Green Drinks in NY-  at the now closed Tavern on the Green!

Us and the abonimable


Take 25% off for Earth Day!

Song of the day: Don't Rain on My Parade – Glee Cast Version

Happy Earth Day! It seems silly to have just a "day", but then again, its silly to have just a "day" for Mother's, Father's, Valentine's, etc., so if we need reminders to celebrate something, take it! Run with it! Make it fun and not an obligation.

To celebrate spring and Earth Day, we invite you to take 25% off all shoes at www.charmone.com – just use coupon code "Earth" at checkout.

Depending on whether you want to play it safe with everyday-espresso or stand out a little more with bright green grass, the licorice is the perfect shoe to welcome in Spring. Made in Italy, eco-friendly, vegan and sweatshop-free. And at less than $99 plus 25% off, you can get both!

Charmone Licorice Grass print   

Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter

Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter

Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade

Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to

If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you

Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade?

…I gotta fly once, I gotta try once,

Only can die once, right, sir?


Ooh, life is juicy, juicy and you see,

I gotta have my bite, sir.

Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a "comer"

I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer

Don't bring around the cloud to rain on my parade.

Take your bite baby, you only live once. (Well, maybe.)

You’ve got to LIVE, LIVE, LIVE!

Song of the day: Friday I'm in Love by The Cure

Things are starting to shift… can
you feel it? I first noticed last week when I left a late afternoon yoga class
and it wasn’t dark yet. Winter is ALMOST over, and just in case I needed a
reminder, my workman publishing Shoe-A-Day calendar gave me a nudge- with one
of our very own shoes!

Monarch cal

The monarch sandal is a great example of
what we’ve tried to do each season- create something simple but beautiful,
wearable yet interesting, walk-able yet sexy. Plus, of course, eco-friendly, vegan and sweat-shop-free. You could wear boring old
flip-flops all summer, but why would you when you have a more elegant option? These
shoes remind me of a great line from the movie we watched last weekend:

“You’ve
got to live, live, live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to
death!”

- Auntie Mame

Don’t starve to death. Bring some fun into your wardrobe and smile at yourself
even while doing the most mundane of tasks.

Originally $295, now on sale for $79 at www.charmone.com

PS- Thanks to everyone who emailed that they liked the shoes after seeing the calendar!

Smile and Take 40% off with Glee coupon

Song of the Day: Smile by Lily Allen, as sung by Glee kids

It's been a strange past month in NY. I never really wanted to live here, particularly in the winter. Fall was GREAT. But now that fall is essentially over, its been harder for me to find the positive, happy, glowing kind of vibe that was so easily cultivated in San Diego. Getting dark at 4:30 just isn't cool, nor is having to wear socks. (And coats, scarves, gloves, and, God forbid, a hat!) But I can't change my environment quite yet, so I have no choice but to change my attitude.

It hasn't been easy, but I'm really lucky to have some great people and activities to lean on. In addition to truly enjoying living with Lauren's wonderful family, there are 2 things that always, always get me in a good mood: yoga and watching Glee. If you haven't seen it, start from the beginning and just go with it. Its silly, heartwarming, fun and inspiring. Its been a long time since I got this into a show that wasn't cynical or twisted. (Well, its a little twisted, but in a sweet way.)

So to celebrate something so silly, heartwarming, fun and inspiring – we're offering 40% for the month of December! Its a perfect time to pick up some party shoes for New Years or start thinking about cute sandals for the winter vacation!

Just use coupon code "Glee" upon check out – and have a wonderful holiday season!

Glee
A great day in NY- ran into some Glee cast members at Bryant Park!

Upcoming Sample Sales in NYC

Song of the Day: I See You Baby by Groove Armada

Come see us in person baby! Get major discounts (up to 50% off web prices!) on great holiday party shoes, ass-kicking boots and winter-worthy platforms. Here's where to find us:

Saturday, November 21: Teich Design – 84 East 7th St, NYC

Friday, November 27th – Sunday, November 29: Green Finds Eco Holiday Marketplace – 2 Great Jones St., NYC

Cinnamon noir side

The Cinnamon: a worldwide favorite

Charmone Mantegna Highres

The Mantegna: only 3 pair left!

Charmone Darjeeling Moss
 
Darjeeling: less than 1 size of each left- also available in black!

New styles: part 3

Song of the day: Girls on Film by Duran Duran

Yesterday I wrote about our love of patterns, today its all about our love of silver. Its such a great substitute for black or gray, and manages to be neutral without ever being boring.

The first favorite pair of shoes I can remember were silver, pointed toe flat slingbacks from ESPRIT, around 1987. I wish I had a picture of them, they were amazing. I wore them without socks in the middle of snow in the freezing cold Minnesota winter and I did not care. My Grandma kept buying me knee-high nylons but it was no use – I was suffering for fashion from an early age.

I think I've wised up a little, and we did our best to avoid any suffering with a chunkier high heel and a low heel – easy to walk in and just enough height to make you feel dressed up. Like the others, these will be available in December- we'll keep you posted! In the meantime, enjoy!

Carolina:

Carolina lr 

Chantelle:

Chantelle lr