“Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life”
In 2011, this happened for Wendy MacManus. The self-professed shoe-a-holic chose to follow her heart – and her shoe fetish – when at the age of 54 she a mid-life career change swapping accounting for footwear designer at her own label, Wendy & Holly Australia.
After her snap-decision, months of searching the web and sampling styles followed until eventually she flew to China. After much deliberation, the moulds were chosen and the first collection based on four styles of shoe – court, ballet, wedge and sling back was in production. Wendy wanted to personalise each style so she added her Australian-designed shoe jewellery.
Wendy launched the brand at an invite-only showing to friends and family in Feb 2011.
“I honestly did not know how I was going to market and sell my shoes,” she said. “One thing lead to another and I am now in my fourth year of business, producing two ranges per year and supplying retailers throughout Australian and New Zealand.”
In September, 2013 Wendy purchased a warehouse and showroom to showcase her extensive range of jelly shoes and bags.
“I am also open to the public and I’ve had an online presence from day 1, sales just keep on improving each year,” she said.
“My inspiration for the Wendy & Holly collections comes from a passion I’ve always had for quirky shoes,” she said. “My label is known for its comfort and quirky fashion.
“Retailers and buyers should visit our stand because we have a very good quality product and a great price point. My product is not the cheapest on the market but we can assure buyers that my product is ethically-produced in China, the PVC used is of the highest quality and all our products can be recycled.”
Wendy & Holly remains a small family-owned Australian company that prides itself on high quality service to retailers and buyers.
“We do not undercut my customers with my online store,” she said. “We sell at RRP and if there are specials these are offered to the retailers/buyers in the first instance.”
Wendy hopes to grow the brand in Australia and New Zealand with hopes to expand into new markets across Asia and Europe.
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