Home for High Heels: Shoe-designer's Big Bet

Shoe-designer Minna Parikka had just one option to follow her dream career when she moved back to Finland in 2005. There were no designer jobs available in Finland’s not-so-large shoe industry.

"It was my teenage dream to become a shoe designer and my ultimate dream then was to have my own brand,” she told Hybe in an interview.

Photo: Ilari Peltomäki

To launch her brand and the company she borrowed 100,000 euros against the asset many would not like to mortgage — her flat. While for some that might sound painful, it did work as a good motivator for Minna.

“That was a great way to keep me going and really push the product and really wanting me to succeed because otherwise I would not have had the place to live in,” she said.

Since then the 35-year old designer has built up a colourful brand selling shoes, betting on classical forms with bold pin-up twists, with clients including fashionistas like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Combining the girlie designs and daily business make a good mix for Minna.

"I do enjoy the balance, they are totally opposites, you have those pink, cute, bunny-eared shoes and then you have the business side and all the problems with the manufacturing, and with receiving payments from the customers and whatever happens,” she describes laughing.

Storefront. Photo: Company source

The competition among makers of designer shoes is fierce across the world - with Parikka seeing main rivalry from global brands like Miu Miu or Marc by Marc Jacobs - but the complicated manufacturing process and cash-tying nature of the business, keeps it somewhat less crowded than clothing industry.

Parikka bets on the bold twists and colours to stand out in the crowd, and size. It might be news to many, but size matters. Also when looking at the heels. "In some cultures it's the measure of how feminine you are: The higher the heels, the better you can perform as a woman,“ Minna said in a recent interview.