In this episode, I interview Rebecca Mink, founder of vegan luxury shoe brand Mink Shoes in Los Angeles.
Rebecca is a pioneer in this field, as she started Mink Shoes back in 2000 when there were few other players in the market. Working as a celebrity wardrobe stylist, she found it hard to find high-end vegan shoes for her clients, so she decided to create her own.
She was initially turned down by 16 factories in Italy, until one finally agreed to take up the challenge of making luxury vegan shoes, for which Rebecca had to create her own animal-free glue!
Eighteen years later she’s now a part-owner of this female-run factory, which also makes shoes for the likes of Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci.
Mink’s specialty is making custom shoes and the company’s clients include celebrities such as Pamela Anderson, Alicia Silverstone and Natalie Portman, as well as Miley Cyrus who approached the brand when she turned vegan to ask Rebecca to make animal-free versions of her favorite shoes and boots.
In addition to creating her own range, Rebecca also partners with other vegan shoe brands to help them bring their products to market. This includes the upcoming line from Kat Von D later this year.
Rebecca continued to work as a wardrobe stylist, while running Mink Shoes until just two years ago when she started to work full-time in the business. She’s grown the company to increase sales tenfold over the past decade and upped the number of staff from three to more than 50.
In this interview Rebecca talks about:
• How she dealt with rejection from 16 factories when she started out
• How she managed to get her shoes into Zappo’s, despite being told her appointment with the buyer was canceled and being asked to leave the premises
• Why she decided to focus on selling her shoes online and direct to customers
• How a collaboration with a cosmetics firm resulted in a win for both brands
• Why she waited until recently to seek outside investment in the company
• The benefits of private label collaborations
• And much more
Visit the Mink Shoes website
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