HOUSE OF SPRING
Combining effortless French elegance with London’s boldness
We spoke to Radhia, who is the founder of a boutique shoe label House of Spring, based in London.
Originally from Paris, Radhia was a fashion buyer prior to moving to London and starting her own business here. Winner of the Joe Meltzer Travel Award by Footwear Friends, her brand sells beautiful, distinctive shoes for the modern woman.
The shoes are designed in London and made by craftsmen in Portugal using the finest quality materials. This means you can run around town without compromising on comfort or style!
House of Spring just opened their first office and showroom in Bank in the City of London and are launching the second seasonal collection in February 2017.
In this interview, Radhia shares why she decided to be a Parisian in London, what inspired her to start a boutique shoe brand, what her typical day is like, the quality of Portuguese craftsmanship and her top tips for starting fashion entrepreneurs.
The story behind the brand
Radhia, you are originally from Paris. What made you choose London over anywhere else in the world to live and start a business?
My move to London was motivated by love:). I met my partner in London and after 4 years of weekly Eurostar trips I decided that it was time to be a Parisian in London. It wasn’t a difficult move as I've had a big crush on London.
Tell us about your brand and where did the inspiration to start a shoe company come from?
House of Spring offers luxury shoes at an affordable price point and the brand is inspired by the chic style of Parisians blended with the vibrancy of London.
When I moved to London, I was looking for well-made shoes that are a bit different in terms of style. It was not easy because the high street is dominated by large chains which tend to offer the same styles. I thought this was a good moment to launch House of Spring and do something a little more personal and creative.
"We created a great mix of samples before our first collection and listened to what women had to say."
Fashion must be a highly competitive market to break into, what has the experience been like for you so far?
Before the launch of House of Spring, we put a lot of effort into getting to know and understand what our customers look for. We created a great mix of samples before our first collection and listened to what women had to say. We had excellent feedback on the quality, design and comfort.
"When I moved to London, I was looking for well-made shoes that are a bit different in terms of style. ...the high street is dominated by large chains which tend to offer the same styles.
I thought this was a good moment to launch House of Spring and to do something a little more personal and creative."
House of Spring has just launched its second SS17 collection. What are some of the highlights in the collection and when can customers start buying them?
We launched SS17 on February 5th and it is made up of 2 collections:
The French Riviera collection is inspired by femininity and confidence of women from the south of France. It reflects the mood of the summer and the shoes in this collection are sexy with a slight boyish twist.
The Jolie Amazone collection exudes a sense of mystery and adventure. It is inspired by the exotic beauty of Josephine Baker, French dancer and singer, when she first appeared on stage in Paris. This is reflected in leopard print and warm camel suede.
Niche between high street and luxury
You identified a niche between the high street and luxury brands. At what price range are your shoes available?
From £135 to £185.
Style & comfort
Most women find high heels beautiful but painful to wear. Is there an alternative so we don’t have to compromise on comfort or style?
You need to try our pumps - they are very comfortable. The insole was created on the advice of a podiatrist. The first layer is made of latex with an additional insole in the heel area for comfort and, finally, a natural leather insole for the finish.
Paris & London
What is the biggest difference between shoe styles in Paris and London?
The French love wearing black clothes, with a bold pair of shoes and scarf to catch the eyes. English girls are fearless, they love to be unique and wear sexy shoes.
Shoes made in Portugal
House of Spring shoes are made by a family-run factory in Portugal. How did you find the producers abroad and what materials are your shoes made of?
Portugal has a long tradition of being one of the best countries making high quality shoes in Europe, second only to Italy. I spent a lot of time travelling around Portugal and meeting shoe makers. I was very lucky to find a great family-run business who take immense pride in their craft.
A typical day at the House of Spring
How do you manage splitting time between two countries while running a business? Could you take us through your typical day, if there is one?
I have lived in London over two years now and I really feel that I’m a Londoner and Parisian at the same time.
My day starts at 6.30 am with a Pilates class and I get to my office in Bank for around 9 am. We have a team meeting most days at 10 am after which I read my emails and speak to our production team in Portugal. Lunch is very important for the French so the whole team takes an hour break to eat well and refresh :)
During the afternoon, I plan my meetings and work on future projects. I usually leave the office at around 7.30 pm to join my partner for a nice dinner - and I can’t stop speaking about shoes and fashion!
"Not everyone thinks like you
so spend time getting to know your customers."
What are your top tips for those who are just starting out in the fashion business?
Not everyone thinks like you so spend time getting to know your customers
Never give up!! There will be some difficult moments but amazing moments as well