From a stockbroker to a luxury shoe designer. Anna Chan swapped her high-flying city career to chase after her dream.
Browsing through her collections, you'll see fun and colour - a statement of hers - all the while not losing the traditional concept of shoes. Anna said: "I love bright colours, in the summer you can't miss me as I'm dressed like a rainbow"! I initially thought each pair were named after a celebrity. You have Sienna, Angelina, Audrey etc...but Anna told me she named each pair after her friends and family.
As a relatively new but evolving brand, she will eventually run out of names. Anna says: "I'm thinking as we go forward either I have to make more friends, or buy one of those baby names book".
The Stockport-based designer did a PR shoot for Metro newspaper earlier in the week, a national newspaper with around three million readers across the UK. One of her favourite shot (below) is of her 'being really cheesy and silly' as she said.
You can see the article by visiting 'Just Anna' blog.
Anna took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions...
Cindy: When did you start to have an interest in shoe designing?
Anna: I have always been interested in shoes. From a very young age I would do sketches but mainly of dresses, then that evolved to drawing shoes and I found I was better with shoes, it was just more fluid. I would keep drawing shoe after shoe.
C: What has been your career highlight so far?
A: I think it was when I was driving in the Brazilian countryside to meet my supplier. I was very excited and I had a huge sense of fulfilment. I thought to myself; I'm the luckiest girl, I had Jason Mraz "I'm yours" on the stereo, I had the sun beaming down on me and thought, how great is this. I'm chasing after my dream and no one can take that away from me.
C: What gives you inspiration?
A: When I see beautiful women wearing high heels and they are having a good time, dancing and smiling. I look and think; I would like to recreate that feeling for someone else. Beauty is a subjective thing and even if you are not conventionally beautiful, I don't think it matters as long as you carry a smile. I think when you smile you look a thousand times more beautiful, so my inspiration comes from that. I want to create something that evokes a smile in a person.
C: How would you describe the 'Just Anna' women?
A: Fun, daring and most importantly intelligent. Shoes are important as they are a way for you to express yourself, but I would also like to think that my customers' aren't totally consumed by materialism. Brands and products are just a way to help them along the way to become self fulfilled, whether it's to clinch that all important job or to bag that gorgeous husband. But not the sole reason to make you happy, I would like to think my customers' think the same way about material objects.
C: Who would you most like to see wearing your shoes?
A: I have to say Lauren Conrad or Kristin Cavallari. I like both of their style, very laid back in the fashion sense but they like to dress up and both like their colours. Lauren was great in 'The Hills' and although people say Kristin was bit of a bitch, I think she was just being true to herself and said what she felt. Which I think is the way to be.
C: What's next for your brand?
A: We are going out to China later on this year, and to Miami thereafter too. We hope to be able to stock our shoes in certain selected boutiques, because personally I wouldn't like this to be a 'masses' brand. More so I would prefer it to be just available to a few selected stores, that are in the know and enjoy their fashion. I personally do not mind when I see someone else wearing the same thing as me, as I just think they have great taste too, but I know my friends think differently. So I wouldn't want my customers' to be in the same pair of shoes as someone else at the same place.
Many thanks again to Anna for her time...here are a few designs from her latest Capsule collection, visit Just Anna online store now.
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