By: Merrit Stahle
Sarah Flint, the namesake behind the growing shoe brand, knew from a young age that she wanted to design footwear that was comfortable and beautiful. But she also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. And it wasn’t.
But her hard work and passion paid off, said Flint, who shared the challenges she faced as a young entrepreneur during a visit to SMU on Oct. 17. The designer was in Dallas for her pop up at the C200 Women’s Executive Leadership Annual Conference at the Four Seasons. Today, celebrities such as Cindy Crawford, Kristen Stewart, Amal Clooney and the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, have been photographed wearing Sarah Flint shoes.
“I wanted to make the kinds of shoes that women wear in their real lives,” Flint says.
At a young age, Flint became passionate about footwear and hyper focused on starting her own company. She worked in retail, interned with Proenza Schouler and Diane Von Furstenberg, and later moved to Italy after studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology to learn the engineering of shoe design.
Her goal was to create shoes for women that were empowering. Flint believes women shouldn’t sacrifice looking good for feeling good. Her shoes are handcrafted in artisanal factories in Italy, the same factories than create Manolo Blahnik and Hermes shoes. There is currently more than 20,000 people on a waiting list for two styles. The brand is also working on the launch of pop-up shops by 2020.
Her success did not come without hard work.
Flint says, “I think I was fighting two things, I was young, and I was female.”
In her experience, when looking for investors it was difficult selling the idea of her footwear brand to men. Men typically buy fewer shoes than women and those selected are designed for comfort. The idea of purchasing shoes for style or shoes for comfort is foreign to men. Flint needed to educate male investors on the reality of the dueling traits in women’s footwear. Flint stopped at nothing to pursue her dream of owning a luxury fashion brand.
Part of her success can be attributed to her team player attitude.
“If there’s a sample sale I’m there unpacking boxes with everyone else,” Flint says.
In addition, Flint answers customer service calls for 1-2 hours every week. She finds value in speaking directly to customers in order to understand their needs. Flint also boasts a strong team.
When looking for a new hire, she adds “The most important thing to me overall is that they are team players, we all do everything.”
She also mentions looking for people who are smart and caring.
Sarah Flint is a young American woman who is a force of fashion. Her laser focus and strong work ethic have led to subtle nuances in shoe design that are propelling her to new heights. We will continue to observe her rise to shoe royalty.