541355_10152119697490037_622171298_nIris Anson, founder of Solely Original first joined TableCrowd in January this year, signing up to one of our popular women’s only dinners. Since then, Iris has been a major TC advocate and heavily involved in the networking experience joining 12 dinners so far this year (with two more lined up for September too!). Catch up with Iris either at the dinner with Seedcamp, or DN Capital, and find out more about what she’s doing for the retail industry below.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Solely Original challenges the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, so we have brought the personalised design choice and fit of made-to-measure female shoes online. We have developed an online platform so that women can experience the service from the comfort of their own home. Using the 3D designer, an image of one’s shoe design is only a click away: by selecting the style, heels, materials and colours. By using the Fitting Sock at home or 3D Foot Scanner at pop up stores, Solely Original can capture the measurements of one’s foot and make shoes that fit perfectly.

Studies reveal that on average British women own 17 pairs of shoes, yet only wear 2-4 pairs on a regular basis because of comfort issues. This reflects the problem of today’s high street shops which are full of standardised footwear made for average foot shapes. Everyone is unique, people’s left foot could be different from the right foot, so with Solely Original there is no reason why people should compromise with standardised shoes when they can be made to fit at a reasonable price.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Prior to Solely Original, I was a fashion conscious city professional, I decided to leave behind my career as a tax consultant to pursue a solution for women like me, who had trouble finding fashionable shoes that are comfortable to walk in. Having studied and researched into the production process and footwear design, I came to realise how unhealthy and flawed the current mass market footwear industry is. I challenge the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, therefore I created Solely Original to afford every woman the luxury of comfortable and stylish heels fitted to their own measurements. In the rapidly developing technological and consumer-driven world, mass customisation is achievable, healthy beauty and sustainable beauty is also possible.

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
It was more of an emotional build up from daily experience wearing uncomfortable fashion shoes. I was very frustrated and eventually led me on the route to build something myself for a solution.

SO04 2What will the rest of 2016 bring?
More design options on our website.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t rush into launching your brand, make sure the entire operation runs smoothly first!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
You don’t need to choose between fashionable or comfortable shoes anymore! With Solely Original, you can have it all -designing a pair of shoes that matches your outfit, then you can get them fitted to your exact measurements.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Grabble (mobile shopping app)

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Tiroler HutAuthentic Austrian Cuisine with Original Live Music

What’s your favourite meal?
English Roast Dinner

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