Head Over Heels focuses on handcrafted shoes made in Europe. Buyer Greta Washington travels to Italy to handpick shoes specifically with her customers in mind. “We carry a diverse range of styles and cater to a wide age group,” Washington said. “In our stores, we offer an intimate level of customer service and are always trying to cater to our customers’ needs and styles.”
Growing up, Washington was surrounded by the industry as her mother was in retail for three decades. With 20 years of buying under her belt, Washington said her mother let her make a lot of decisions from a very young age. “I learned a lot on the job, you learn to trust and go with your gut instinct.” Head Over Heel customers are independent, confident and appreciate quality and style. It’s important for Washington as a buyer to also work in the store and engage with customers so she knows what clients are looking for. “The level of service you get in a boutique is more intimate, you get to know your customers really well,” she added. “There is also a passion for the brands we stock which is passed onto the staff.”
When buying, Washington said she is very visual, and sometimes you just know it when you see it. Quality workmanship is very important for the shape and form of the shoe as well. She is always looking at current trends as well as classics and carrying brands which have their own niche. Washington takes on large quantities and small ones, depending on exclusivity and unique injection ranges within the season. A lot of their portfolio is an affordable luxury, with shoes made in factories where a lot of high-end luxury shoes are made in Italy and Spain. Washington aims to buy shoes which practice sustainability in the workplace – how the shoes are made, sustainable materials and so on. “We like to offer our customers well-made shoes which last for years.”
The industry has changed so much since the brand first opened over 10 years ago. When they first started, Head Over Heels didn’t have an online store or any social media platforms. The power of having these elements has allowed them to reach customers all over the world.
Having just finished buying for next winter, Washington is loving all the animal's prints, croc and python leathers coming through. There is still a strong influence on western styles and combat boots. In terms of toe shapes, Washington said there is a movement towards masculine square toe shapes which she absolutely loves. “We are also very excited about our exclusive collaborations we are doing with New Zealand designer Beau Coops.”
Washington added that she believes people are wanting to spend money on items which will last longer than a season. With climate change and the impact fast fashion has on the environment, she believes people are taking into consideration the longevity of the fashion items they purchase.
The growth of their online business has been huge and the team is planning to expand and develop this further. “We are constantly working towards expanding our brands and collaborating with designers to create exclusive styles,” she said. “The goal is to have our own in house brand and this is something we are currently working on for Winter 2020.”
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