1. Tell me how and when everything started.
Clouds Couture was inspired after years of wearing flip flops that were uncomfortable, unsupportive and unhealthy for my feet. As a native California girl, I lived in flip flops all year long and was constantly in search of a pair that would comfortably take me from the pool to a casual night on the town. In 2009, after a long day of walking the Las Vegas Strip in a pair of well broken in wedge flip flops, I was left with blisters and very sore feet. That was it!
Upon my return home, I sought out to design a versatile sandal that would be comfortable, stylish, and supportive, yet priced for a broad range of pocketbooks. I found myself tearing apart my wedge sandals, and used materials from around my house and the local drug and fabric stores to design the prototype for my new comfortable wedge flip flop. That’s when Clouds…”The Ultimate Pillow-Soft Flip Flop” TM were born.
2. When did you first know that you wanted to be a business owner?
I have been in entrepreneur since 1993 when I opened my own mortgage company. As a single mother of four daughters, I needed a career that would provide me flexibility- a job that would allow me to work at any hour of the day/night. After 17 years and the housing bubble crisis came crashing down on all aspects of the real estate industry, it was finally time for me to pursue a passion I have had for a very long time….. designing shoes, handbags and clothing.
After almost two years in the R & D process, we finally found the right combination to create the perfect flip flop. It has been a rewarding and long journey from my first prototype, to creating our logo, starting a website, receiving our first sample and our first large shipment of inventory. I am now looking forward to designing more shoes, sandals, and slippers with comfort, style and versatility as the main focus! We will also compliment this with apparel in the future.
3. If you weren’t in the retail industry, what would you like to be doing?
I am very excited to explore the creative side of my brain after many years working in the numbers oriented business of the mortgage industry.
4. Tell us about your fabulous store and what products or serviced do you offered?
Currently, we are launching our “Ultimate Pillow-soft Flip-Flop.” Clouds Couture Bahama 1 ½”, Monaco 2 ¼”, and Saint Tropez 3” “Pillow-Soft Flip Flops”, use ‘memory foam insoles, a NASA-created cushioning that retains 95% of its resiliency even after years of wear, and moisture-wicking Cuddle Fleece that is soft to the touch, yet can sustain wear and tear. Clouds Couture flip-flops are affordable for any budget and are machine washable. Fashion and function should translate into what women have wished for since shoes were invented: Style that’s comfortably sexy, day and night. Clouds Couture delivers comfort, style and versatility with a unique design in a wedge flip flop.
From the moment you slip your foot into this luxurious flip-flop, you’ll think you are walking on “Clouds.”‘
5. How would you describe your personal style?
I would say that I dress comfortably fashionable, as I love soft and cozy fabrics, but I want to look stylish and fashionable. I love yoga pants to wear to run errands in or lounge around my home, but I will throw on a cute pair of jeans and a sexy top to hit the town! I created this comfortable flip flop, so I could wear it any time of day or night, no matter what the occasion or location!
6. Who is your favorite designer?
I have a wide range of favorite designers. As far as clothing, I usually shop at Nordstroms, Victoria’s Secret, Cache, lulu lemon, and Bebe’s. As for evening attire, I love St. John suits and little black dresses for those fancier business/cocktail parties as they are all timeless pieces. For my business suits, my wardrobe consists of majority of Armani and Prada. My favorite pair of shoes are definitely Prada pumps. I really love Chanel and/or Gucci handbags and sunglasses. My favorite designer dress in my closet is designed by Nicole Miller.
7. If you had a choice of all designers in the world, who would you prefer to work for? Why?
Since we are now in the shoe business, I would love to work with Christian Louboutin. They really have perfected the “perfect pump” and I would love to see the manufacturing and marketing processes within their company. I love how they have the signature red under every heel!
8. Are there any special projects you would like to work on?
There are many projects I would like to work on. I would love to get into every realm of the shoe business- sandals, slippers, boots, pumps, etc. I would love to create handbags, accessories, and eventually clothing that will be based on my love for soft fabrics, stylish prints and patterns, and versatile style.
9. Which magazines do you read? Which magazine is your favorite? I really enjoy reading Self, In Style, Women’s Fitness, Elle, Vogue, and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. I also like to read People, to see what the celebrities are wearing. I would say my favorite is In Style, as they seem to have fashion that is easy for everyday people to wear and they are current on the latest trends.
10.What do you see on stores that you think is really great?
One thing that I love to see in stores are tops or bottoms that can be worn in many different ways if you mix and match with other items of clothing. For example, black leggings are really hot right now. You can either wear them with a long shirt, a dress, with a sweater, t-shirt, or sleeveless vest and it looks like a new outfit every time. I really also love boots. I have always been a fan of a high heel, but today there are so many flat or low heel boots, and they are so much more comfortable than those tall stiletto boots.
11.What motivates you?
I am driven by the reward of success and hard work. It is about pursuing something, I never dreamt was possible, but now here I am, designing shoes and learning about this whole new world. I am also motivated by people that have worn our shoes, that say they love them and they are amazed how comfortable they are… that means I did my job well. The second focus of Clouds is to give back. We are creating a Non Profit Charitable Organization called “Clouds all over the world”! We will be working to create a safe, happy, peaceful and sanitary place for children in orphanages to live and be educated.
We are hopeful that we can assist in placing these children in loving family environments. As a single mother of four daughters, I have focused my life on making sure these human beings that I brought in to this world have every opportunity to create a happy and rewarding life. I have also instilled upon them to also give back.
12. What’s next for you?
We are really looking forward to the next product launch. We are working on a comfortable platform pump with the same ideals in mind that we used for our “pillow-soft flip flop”- comfort, style versatility and we will work with quality fabrics and materials to create our vision. Then hopefully, we can work on the next chapter- boots, clogs, handbags, apparel. As far as the charity, I have identified our first orphanage to assist, Cate Academy. They are in desperate need of building a proper building for the living facilities, classrooms, bathrooms and kitchen facilities. I would love to see this task be accomplished by 2012.
13. What do you do in your down time?
There are many things I do in my down time. I love to spend time with my family, anything active or outdoors- skiing, wakeboarding, hiking, working out, meeting interesting people, enjoying a glass of red wine or two, traveling, and challenging myself on new projects
Thanks to Shelley for sharing her story! You can visit her Shop for more info.
Images by Clouds Couture