By: Melodie Narain, Fashion Marketing Alumna
For as long as I can remember I’ve been determined to live in New York City. When I was a kid we moved from Washington D.C. to the Maryland suburbs, but I always wanted to return to the city. As I got older and closer to graduation from high school I thought it was now or never. I stumbled upon Berkeley College when representatives from that school attended a college fair at my high school. I was intrigued, I was excited, and I was ready. I had filled out so many college applications, but the only school I wanted to hear from was Berkeley College. My mom didn’t feel the same way. She wanted me to stay close to home, or to attend a college in the south. Truthfully, I understood where she was coming from, but I knew in my heart that I was New York-bound. I was overjoyed when I received an offer to attend Berkeley College in New York City.
I vividly remember the professors and the investment they made in their students. It didn’t feel like going to school, it was more like being taught by family members who had a vested interest in me. Family members who wanted me to succeed beyond measure and felt that my failure would have been their failure as well. Both Professor Woods and Professor Morrison were very passionate about the fashion industry, and that made us passionate about learning. They reminded us that we had so much opportunity at our fingertips because we were attending college in New York City. In our Visual Merchandising class we walked down 5th Avenue to look at the window displays. Our professors used these hands-on opportunities to show us how to be resourceful and to show us that everything isn’t in a textbook.
Today, in partnership with my mother, I own a shoe business. We are very much in the infancy stage, and I credit my knowledge to get this far to the education I received at Berkeley College. The ability to put together a “look book” and a window display, the ability to forecast colors and estimate numbers, the understanding of textiles, the knowledge about tech designing and how to even begin this process – I gained all of this knowledge from my Berkeley College professors. They gave me a foundation and I was able to build on that to create my company Sole Savers.
Sole Savers is a shoe company, but it’s not your average shoe business. We are using something that people love (style and fashion) to provide a service. The service is immediate relief! Heels are a must, but having a backup pair of rollable flats is genius! I know that personally I can’t function when my feet hurt. Our desire to remedy that, along with our desire to help others, is what Sole Savers is all about. We find charities that many may not know about and we donate a portion of our profits to them. We believe that every sole has a soul, and the foundation of a business should be how it supports others even when no one is aware of it.
We currently have four colors for purchase on our website. We are in the manufacturing stage for our Spring 2016 collection and will be adding five new colors. In addition, we are deciding on the 3rd round of colors. We also are in the first phase of developing a new “everyday” shoe that can be worn as often as a client likes and is a bit different from our rollable flats. I would say that you can expect to see Sole Savers around for a while. We are just beginning!