Interview with Designer/Owner of Vevian shoes, Vivienne Lopez

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Mums in the Wood interviewed the very lovely, enterprising and impressive mumpreneur, Vivienne Lopez,  founder, designer and owner of Vevian shoes for babies and toddlers. Vivienne started her business 8 years ago and her brand has now gained international recognition. Her unique shoes are handmade and are customised for every special occasion. All her materials are sourced locally and she tries to be as eco-friendly as possible. After designing and making her first pair of shoes for her  daughter’s first birthday, Vivienne started her journey creating shoes that were not only aesthetically beautiful to look at but would also serve as a  memento of any special occasion. Bespoke styles can also be commissioned and can be made to match outfits or styles as desired. Existing shoes can also be customised as required. The beautiful shoes are really quite lovely and made from soft leathers for pre-walkers, and for toddlers the leather sole comes with a rubber heel and rubber pad at the front, allowing the shoes to be slip resistant and remain flexible. The sock is then inserted with a soft foam inside the shoes to support and protect those little feet. A final wonderful touch is that Vivienne has also launched a line of vegan shoes made without using any animal products. 

 

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Question:

What made you start producing the shoes and what inspired you?

Answer:

Keeping children’s first shoes is a lovely tradition that many parents and children enjoy. However I noticed a niche in the market for shoes worth treasuring. Using my experience in the shoe industry and my passion as a designer, I made my daughter a pair of shoes for her first birthday. The shoes were a hit with friends and family, and requests came in faster than I could keep up with. From there, the idea of Vevian was born.

 

Question:

Does the name Vevian have special meaning to you and why did you choose it over your own name?

Answer:

The brand Vevian is named after me – the founder and designer. “Vevian” is how my parents pronounced my name given they migrated from Lebanon to Australia and had an Arabic accent. Thus Vevian is the original spelling of my name and was recorded on my birth certificate in that way. This is where the spelling of my brand originates. I am now formally known as Vivienne but when choosing a unique and personal name for my brand, I felt that the original spelling was a perfect choice. The name of my brand resonates with my history and my heritage, which has shaped who I am and has influenced me as a designer.

 

Question:

When did you start your business and how has it grown?

Answer:

I began developing shoes in 2008, and launched Vevian in 2009. In the very first year of launching I collaborated with John Lewis to offer an exclusive collection when they re-launched their children’s department store on Oxford Street.  To be recognised by a much loved and respected department store in my first year of trading was a huge achievement. We built an e-commerce website which allows us to sell our shoes directly to customers worldwide.We also supply boutiques across England, and use agents for International orders.

 

Question:

What is the best thing about running your own start up?

Answer:

The most important thing is that I can be there for my children but the best thing is that I get to do what I love, making children’s shoes. I am involved in the making of each pair from beginning to end and I am always full of pride with every single pair I send to my customers.

 

Question:

How do you juggle being a mummy and working on the different aspects of running a business? Is it easier or harder than working for someone else?

Answer:

This year my youngest has started full time school and this has made it much easier to find a healthy balance. Before that I was working through the nights and was a tired mother to my children a lot of the times. But I am always there for their tumbles and triumphs, which is important to me. Where possible I involve my children and this helps them to understand why mummy is working and what the business is about. Fortunately, I have a few great mummy friends who help me out when I get too busy. I always return the favour and never forget to show my appreciation. If I were to work for someone else I would find office hours difficult, as I would see less of my children.

 

Question:

Any advice you would offer to other mums thinking about starting their own businesses?

Answer :

Starting your own business is a little like having a child, no matter what people tell you beforehand, nothing prepares you for the journey. You will cross all sorts of hurdles all the time and your ability to cross a hurdle and grow from it is key to succeeding. Making lots of local mummy friends through the various groups and meet-ups was key in providing a network and swapping ideas and advice. It is a great way to help each other out.

For more information please visit Vivienne’s website http://www.vevian.co.uk/

Vevian shoes is offering an exclusive 15% discount for Mums In the Wood readers.
Please see our offers and discounts section for details. https://mumsinthewood.com/offers-and-discounts/baby-products/

 

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