Today we’d like to introduce you to Ce Ce Chin.
Ce Ce, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I came to L.A. a few years ago for a job as VP of Design for a handbag company. We had tons of excess leather where the remaining pieces were too small for bags but perfect for shoes. And my then new LA lifestyle was opening to new spiritual practices like walking meditation and labyrinth walking. When I lived in NY I had a different shoe brand called 80%20 footwear and that was all about the hidden wedge, like the padded bra of footwear that would elevate you in a very discreet way. My life in LA is more grounded, literally. Even though we drive here all the time, we are more connected to nature and the earth.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Well right now, the country is under a state of emergency with the coronavirus! I have planned for many live market events starting mid-April until end of June. I make most of my sales through live events, so I’m quite concerned at how the next few months will play out. Some markets are canceling and rescheduling. I do sell online as well, but people love to try the shoes on in person and I prefer it that way. I assume people will continue to shop online during this time, but can that replace my sales at events? Who really knows because everything regarding public health is uncertain and of course it will have an impact on the economy.
Vision Quest Shoes – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Vision Quest shoes speaks to the mindful wearer, a customer who wants fashion but is also ecologically and spiritually conscious. Yoga has most likely been a big part of her life, and she is exploring other practices like sound baths and labyrinth walking. Our shoes are very comfortable and also quite stylish. We salvage leather from deadstock to provide a wide variety of color choices, some are very basic and some make quite a statement!
I am most proud that we have some customers who already own 8-10 pairs, and we’ve been in business for less than two years!
There are not many shoe designers in the independent designer world, mainly because the barriers to entry are so high. First of all, most shoes are made outside of the USA. Then, shoe making requires investment in tools and lasts to be made in all the different sizes, and those can be quite expensive. Furthermore, an inventory of shoes needs to be made in all of the different sizes, and it can be a lot to manage. And most importantly, the designer really needs to understand the foot and wearability, or the shoes won’t sell. It’s one thing to make a shoe that looks good, and another to have it really feel good to a lot of different people. There’s fitting technique involved and I am thankful to have learned a lot of lessons from my first line 80%20 shoes. The shoe business is a high stakes endeavor, but I’m pretty seasoned in the risk and rewards. I stand out as a designer because my shoes not only look great, they feel great.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I personally define success if you can make your business your main priority in your life beyond your family. Your business is successful if you can sustain a lifestyle from it. Having savings or access to cash might contribute to that, or even a part-time job or income from real estate. I think it’s important to know your break-even point, even if you have not met that goal. If you know you will hit it at some time within three years of starting your company and have a strategy then I believe you are already on the road to success.
- Website: www.visionquestshoes.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @visionquestshoes
- Facebook: @visionquestshoes
Daisy Rast Photographer