It's said that you can tell a lot about a person from their shoes and this couldn't be more true of Lucy Choi, niece of the legendary shoe maker Jimmy Choo. But what made Lucy go from a secure city job to following in her uncle's footsteps to launch her own shoe label? And what sets Lucy Choi London apart from the crowd?
Tell me about your background?
It might surprise people to know that my background actually wasn’t initially in shoe design. I started my professional life in the city and worked there for over eight years and then went into fashion. My family heritage and all I’d learnt growing up combined with my passion for fashion and shoe design won over and my constant transition between flats and heels on the daily commute to the office which gave me a lightbulb moment and became the ethos of my brand. I wanted to create a shoe which was both comfortable, with character at an affordable price point that doesn’t compromise the quality and craftsmanship of the shoe. From this, Lucy Choi London was born.
What made you make the leap from a secure job in finance to launching your own shoe label?
I would not have launched my own brand without first getting experience under my belt and working in the financial world and then in fashion, with the knowledge I had gained I was then ready to go on my own. After my lightbulb moment, I had such passion and belief in the concept of the brand ethos and my future in shoe design that I risked everything to turn my vision into a reality. I sold my flat and put all of my savings into creating what now eight years later is a worldwide brand - I couldn’t be prouder.
What is the ethos of Lucy Choi London?
I learnt early on the importance of character, comfort & craftsmanship, which was to become the founding ethos of my brand. My vision is to offer customers wearable, comfortable shoes, at an accessible price point that have the wow-factor. My signature style is epitomised by a “Rock ‘n’ Royal” theme inspired by the two Kates: the edgy and iconic Kate Moss and the elegant and classic Kate Middleton.
How do you balance work and family life?
As with most Mothers it’s not something I find easy, but I do my very best. In the weekdays, my main focus is work and I’m based in the boutique or in meetings, but I always take my little boys Thomas and Harrison to school and nursery every morning and ensure I put them to bed as often as possible before running back to the office for evening events. Weekends though are totally family time, I try to switch my phone off and dedicate my weekends to my family.
Who is your inspiration?
One of my main inspirations is my Uncle Jimmy Choo, as a young girl I watched him create the most amazing shoes and learnt all about the level of craftsmanship involved. I learnt so much from him, he has taught me great values and he inspires me everyday.
What is the dream for your business?
There’s nothing I love more than seeing somebody in a pair of my shoes. I would love to become a global brand, with boutiques in every city, we have lots of exciting plans rolling out this year – so watch this space.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have did you overcome it?
I seem to welcome a challenge. When I first launched my brand in 2012, I also gave birth to my first son and then as we opened the flagship boutique in 2015 I had my second son. So, quite the challenge. I overcome this by having such great support professionally with my team and personally with my family. I’m a very lucky lady.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
Seeing my name above the door of the boutique was a real high for me and then seeing world famous models such as Winnie Harlow, Izabel Goulart and Hailey Baldwin wearing my shoes on the catwalk at London Fashion Week are all ‘pinch myself’ moments. I also love seeing our customers wearing my shoes and commenting on the unique style and how comfortable they find them. Seeing the team grow with the company and being part of the journey with me has been great too!
Any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
I don’t think this is something that will ever go away, but I think as long as you are doing your best and ensuring the time you do spend with your children is quality time. You’re doing a fantastic job.
What advice would you give to others just starting on their entrepreneurial journey?
I would say to believe in your vision, if you don’t know one else will. Also, don’t give up, there will be hurdles, but keep going. Nothing worth while is ever going to be easy!
What is your favourite shoe of the season?
Gosh, that’s a hard one, it’s like asking me to choose a favourite child as I love them all. It all depends on my mood. If I’m going out for a night on the town, I would be tempted to favour the Madonna, a black strappy number with the real wow factor and a rock edge. For daytime, possibly a pair of my Brigitte flats, which channel the Royal in my brand. They are so very versatile, that they can be worn from day to night. Or possibly a pair of Meryls which have a bit of both the rock and the royal in them, they can glam up any outfit from skinny jeans to a killer dress and the Goring shoe is great to wear for work meetings as I always wear black so they add a touch of colour to my outfit.
Lucy will be holding three Q&A sessions on Friday 20 September at Saints Cafe, Maidenhead where there will be a selection of styles available at VIP discounted prices.
Get your tickets here and be quick.
Facebook: Lucy Choi London