Today we’d like to introduce you to Bebe Mehr.
Bebe, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After owning a boutique and online store in Arizona for eight years, the next step for me was to start to my own line. I had stopped eating meat in 2008 and tried to buy only cruelty-free fashion. Seeing there was an immense void in the market for stylish, luxury shoes that were also cruelty-free, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.
Cult of Coquette was started in 2014 with just one style of pump, so after taking a few years to learn more about footwear manufacturing and to explore more opportunities in LA, I re-launched the brand with a second Collection this past December.
Thanks to the public’s growing interest in Vegan and cruelty-free products, as well as support from celebrities like Miley Cyrus, we’ve already been fortunate enough to have been featured in The New York Times, US Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue Italia and more.
As a conscious person, who cares about the well being of animals and the ethical treatment of people working for our company and in our factory, it’s important to me to have a business that reflects my values. I’m excited to see where we can take the brand, starting with the release of our third collection for pre-sale at the end of March.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I wouldn’t believe a single business owner that says it was a smooth road. You can be as prepared as possible, and things will still go wrong, or obstacles will come up that you didn’t anticipate.
There will almost always be issues with available capital (especially in the beginning), or finding people to be on your team that is the right fit, but an obstacle that came up before the launch of our last collection always stands out to me as an example of thinking I was prepared for anything and then getting a dose of reality.
Because there was such a significant gap between our first and second collection, I decided to introduce it with a crowdfunding campaign. I spent months doing research, then a couple more months working with a team to plan and design the campaign.
Thousands of dollars were spent on ads to gather targeted emails and to hire people to help with the process. On the day the campaign was set to start, we found that almost everyone had trouble understanding how to place an order through Indiegogo.
There was no time to be upset or feel sorry myself, so with no time to waste (and almost no experience designing websites), I decided the only option was to rebuild my entire site myself to make the order process easier for my customers.
Every day there’s a problem or task I don’t plan for or have the time available to deal with, but as an entrepreneur, you just learn to problem solve without spending too much time overthinking or being emotional. (I still allow myself five minutes to stress cry at my desk every day.) 🙂
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cult of Coquette story. Tell us more about the business.
Cult of Coquette is a line of cruelty-free luxury shoes. Our goal is to provide stylish footwear options for the modern, conscious woman at a contemporary price point.
I’m most proud of the fact that I have been able to create a line of shoes that people love without compromising my personal ethics or integrity. The materials we use are all cruelty-free/vegan, including our glues.
My company is 100% female owned, and the factory we use is not only female-owned but also has a company culture that believes in the ethical treatment of its employees.
We’ve been able to create styles with a high-end feel, from the packaging to the product itself, and offer them at a price point that is accessible to most people.
At the same time, I think having an emphasis on the ethical treatment of animals and people, as well as empowering women through our social media posts and quotes we include in each box, makes our customers connect to us in a personal way. That really motivates me and makes me proud of what we’re building.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t know if I would call it “luck,” but timing has played a huge role. I started my boutique when I was barely 24 years old and fresh out of college. I had no business experience and very little retail experience. I just always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of fashion.
It’s easy to be young and have huge dreams and think they will come true immediately, but it’s rare to hear a story like that, most people have years of struggles and lessons before they succeed.
Those eight years of owning a boutique didn’t provide much financial security, but the experience and knowledge I gained was priceless. I’m able to look back and connect every failure and lesson together to see how it got me to the place I am today.
I also believe that timing played a role because the interest in vegan/cruelty-free fashion wasn’t as strong four years ago when I started the company as it is today. I always say there’s no real value in your successes. Of course, it feels good, but you learn everything from your failures.
- $165 for the Essentials Collection
- $195 for the Holiday Collection
- Website: www.CultofCoquette.com
- Email: CultofCoquette@gmail.com
- Instagram: @cultofcoquette
- Facebook: facebook.com/CultofCoquette
- Twitter: @cultofcoquette
Photographer: Chris Swoszowski