We’re fans of print and pattern, and sometimes we even wear them on our feet… But in Vancouver, it can be hard to wear our extra special nice shoes regularly with our weather. Or they get left at the office because we’re switching to runners for the commute home… Enter SHOOFIE by Tara McNulty.
Tara’s SHOOFIE bags are not just shoe bags, they are designed with your favourite shoes in mind: divided to prevent rubbing and scratching against each other, each shoe has its own cozy compartment that zips closed. Perfect for travel or the 9-5, SHOOFIE comes in a variety of colours and patterns, to match your fave footwear, and works with your outfit, rather than against it.
We chatted with Tara about her line, check it out and come see her this Fall 2019! Preview SHOOFIE online *here*.
Even with the rise in Sustainability, customers still want “luxury”… how does your line connect the two concepts?
Such a great question. When we see how much things have changed even over the last few years I think the connection between sustainability and luxury is growing closer. I remember back in 2014, Vivienne Westwood said something that really resonated with me, she said ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’. This really struck a chord. Luxury should be just as much about sustainability as it is about style and vice versa. With all the technology and knowledge of ethical sourcing and production practices we have available to us today, we shouldn’t have to choose one or the other.
When I started SHOOFIE I didn’t want to have to compromise, luxury and sustainability need to go hand in hand. My vision was, and still is, to create products that serve a real purpose in a woman’s life. Products that are luxurious and fashionable but made ethically and to last. Our first and namesake product, the SHOOFIE, is a complete reinvention and modern take on the shoe bag that’s specifically designed to make it easy for women to transition in and out of their heeled shoes on the go. Whether it’s changing your shoes at the office, en route to a meeting in a cab or just packing them into your checked luggage, it’s an accessory that solves a very niche problem that many women encounter every day. Good shoes can be expensive (and they’re usually not the best things to try walk across town in), so when you find a pair that you love, looking after them can help prolong their life— and your feet might thank you too.
We use only the highest quality and ethically produced materials that I source directly myself. And with all of our production done right here in Vancouver, our ethos is focused firmly on what sustainable luxury can be.
Let’s talk design for a moment: what is your design viewpoint? Who is the person you design for? How has your design viewpoint changed or evolved?
To be perfectly honest the person I always start with is myself. If it’s not something I would want to actually use or wear myself I don’t think I could go beyond that. But if an idea passes the ‘self-test’ then my focus immediately shifts shifts to the customer. What does she want? would she find this useful? what would make her feel good and help her be more effective in her day-to-day? (Yes I ask myself a lot of questions as part of the process!). I’m not sure if my design viewpoint has changed so much since I got started, I really just try to focus on creating beautiful and high quality things that’ll bring you a little bit of joy every time they use them.
How are you balancing creativity with the daily grind?
I really love every part of the process and I’m glad that I do, or I don’t think I’d be able to do this! Every day I am so thankful and feel so fortunate that I’m able to do what I love. Things are not always easy by any means but positive feedback from customers has the power to turn a grey sky blue in an instant. I’m also incredibly lucky to be surrounded and supported by such a strong community of local entrepreneurs and artisans. Events like First Pick have really been the pioneers in helping to build this community, bringing together and creating a platform that showcases and promotes our local talent. When I look around and see what people are making right here in Vancouver it really makes me proud to be a part of this city. There’s so much being offered and I would encourage everyone to look out for and help support our local superstars.