Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stepping out in style

There is a saying “You can never have too many friends or pairs of shoes!” Well imagine if one of your friends also had her own shoe company – how lucky that would make you!

A friend of mine Mariama Wurie recently set up her own business Neneh Stiletto to sell shoes online. There are a variety of styles to choose from, each of which were chosen personally by Mariama and are manufactured to order. They are elegant, stylish and affordable and although the company is still in its infancy, the shoes are already attracting the attention of many people including the classical group All Angels who wore the Adele platform stiletto for one of their performances at the Royal Albert Hall recently.

Naturally, eager to support my friend but also to try out a pair of her shoes, I ordered my own pair of Adeles. They are a beautiful platform sandal in a beige faux suede finish with gorgeous detail down the front. I was excited to receive them just a few days later and eager to give them their first road test – after all, don’t they say never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes!

They are incredibly pretty and very feminine, my only thoughts were “how will I ever walk in these, they are so high!” I needn’t have worried though as despite the high heel, they are remarkably comfortable and after a few steps you notice that your posture has changed to accommodate walking in the shoe, you stand upright rather than stoop over and your legs look and feel elongated – all of which seems to give you the appearance of a more slender figure. These shoes are incredible; style, elegance and weight loss all in one go.You really are stepping out in style!

The company may still be in its early stages but Mariama has lots more planned for it. I caught up with her recently to ask her about her company, where her ideas came from and who she admires in the fashion industry.

What inspired you to start your own company?

Starting a business has always been something I have wanted to do. From as far back as I can remember I would create a little ‘business’, although I can’t particularly remember what it was, I remember having friends over and holding an ‘event’ in my room with cardboard boxes and teddies. Everybody had a name tag and there were presentations made to the ‘guests’. I loved it even then.

What has been your educational and working background so far?

I studied business at A-Level and came to love the marketing side of it so went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing at UWE, Bristol. After several experiences through full-time employment I decided it was time to start my own business. Why? I wanted to work for myself. I am motivated by the opportunities of creativity that running my own business gives me. Plus I combined my love for shoes with my passion for business!

What have you enjoyed most about starting your own business?

Starting a business is an exciting and fun adventure, but it also requires a lot of hard work and you have to dedicate a lot of time and effort into it. It is a huge learning curve for me but every step of the way I am succeeding. I never see anything as a failure – just an experience to learn from! For me success isn’t measured by monetary value but from the leaps and bounds I have taken and for the doors that are opened.

Who inspires you?

There are several people who inspire me, Lord Alan Sugar for one. Duncan Bannatyne, Ali Brown, a motivating female entrepreneur based out in California USA. A friend of mine, Gabriella Warren who formed her own Latin-Dance agency from a passion of dancing, also inspires me! There are many more I could list but I am basically motivated by people who are able to take what they love and turn it into a business or start from nothing and develop something great!

Whose styles do you personally like?

In the fashion industry I am inspired by many: Christian Louboutin, Kurt Geiger, Jimmy Choo, LK Bennett, Beau Coops, Manolo Blahnik and many more! My style icons range from BeyoncĂ© Knowles to Charlize Theron, Eva Mendes to Jada Pinkett-Smith and believe or not our own Kate Middleton – she reminds me of classic beauty and elegance – an image I want to portray with Neneh Stiletto.

What can we expect to see from Neneh Stiletto in the future?

I want to develop the business further by linking and affiliation with some well known high-end high street brands. Watch this space as within the two years there will be some exciting changes with Neneh Stiletto!

If your curiosity has now got the better of you and you’d like to find out more about Neneh Stiletto, why not head over to the website and explore the various styles on sale at the moment. Ordering is easy, payment is by PayPal and postage is free for orders within the UK. It would be great to hear from you if do buy a pair so please leave feedback on here or on one of the sites below and help to spread the word!
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