Creating a Shoe with Removeable Heels – Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 48:27)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris shares her story of struggling with footwear, which inspired her to build a business that sells shoes with removable heels that provide women all around with the comfort and convenience of wearing or removing heels at any time they prefer.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Crossing the Chasm

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris

00:00Introduction
01:00About the business
03:59What the heels represent
08:20Startup story
14:26Manufacturing
17:29Entrepreneur mindset
23:50Launching more products
26:02Marketing
29:01Team
32:01Selling globally
32:53Fulfillment and shipping
34:40Challenges
37:13Social media marketing
39:23Mistakes made, lessons learned
42:13Rapid fire round

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris

  1. Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Crossing the Chasm)
  2. An innovative product or idea and the current eCommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Electric tennis rackets which kill mosquitoes)
  3. A business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend (Response: Klaviyo)
  4. A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspired you (Response: The head of Repetto)
  5. Best business advice you ever received (Response: As long as somebody’s working for you, they’re your person, and you have to nourish them. A business is made up of people and it’s better to have happy people)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep talks. This is the show where I interview successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, business executives and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses. And today, I’m really excited to welcome Tanya heat to the show. Danielle is the founder of footwear and accessories brand called Tanya Heath Paris. Tanya, he creates innovative footwear and accessories that allow women to navigate their busy days, and climb the corporate ladder without having to sacrifice comfort for a living. And today, I’m going to ask you a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey, and some of the strategies and tactics that she has used to start and grow her business. So thank you so much for joining me today on Trep talks.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Thanks very much for being interested in the story.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah. So can you share a little bit before we get into it, you know, what is your business? And what is the primary problem you’re solving.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

So the primary problem was really very related to myself. So before starting this company, you know, in Canada, I worked for Foreign Affairs. When I came to France, I did an MBA, so I started working as a management consultant. Because my French was poor at the time, I was often traveling. So virtually everywhere, a lot of travel to the Middle East, a lot of travel to Northern Europe. And at that time, you know, being a management consultant meant you definitely had a corporate look. So the first thing I noticed is, when we were going to the client site, I’d be the only person on the team actually checking in my luggage, and all of the men on my team would just be, they’d be there with a carry on. And part of the reason is, I had a lot of shoes. So that was the first thing I was thinking. The second thing I was thinking is I actually kept up that lifestyle and that career for all three of my pregnancies. So I was wearing, not just pregnancy office wear, but pretty high heels throughout three pregnancies, and I shouldn’t have. So I ended up more or less damaging my foot by wearing the high heels when I shouldn’t have been wearing high heels. And my doctor told me, I had to stop wearing heels. And I started thinking, Well, yes, I could wear flats. But I would feel diminished as a human being. I’m very passionate about high heels. And I’m passionate about fashion. So I started thinking, you know, there’s technology and innovation in so many aspects of our lives. Why can’t we see if the principles used in other businesses, especially around disruptive innovation can be applied to fashion, and can I re engineer a high heel, that will be women friendly, that will be safe, that will be comfortable, that will be easy to use. And that will solve the problems of pain, the problems of traveling. And I think one of the biggest surprises to me, is we actually before virtually anybody was talking about it became a very sustainable company. Because with one pair of shoes and a few pairs of heels, you can do a lot more and go a lot further than you can with five or six pairs of shoes. So you’re actually reducing the number of things that you’re buying, wearing what you have much more often. And it’s kind of a brand which has something for the minimalist, because you’re you’re you’re you’re using so much less, but it also has something for the maximalist because we have 500 Different heel styles, and you can go wild on heels. I hope that wasn’t too much of an earful.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

No, that was great. I will curious, maybe a little bit if you can share. For women like what does what does the heel represent? Like I know, even the heels are different kinds of heels, right? There’s like one of pointy here one of more of a flat eel. Is it really just about fashion? And you know, I guess an expression of you know, what you’re feeling in the moment or, you know, if you’re going out, you want to look a certain way, or is it? You know, does it mean something other like what? What are women getting out of like wearing? I don’t know that. That’s more of a curiosity.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

No, it’s a you’ll have to cut me off if my answer is boring to you. But in actual fact, heels historically came to Europe through Iran, and they were originally worn by men. So they were a device to keep your foot in a saddle, especially in battle. So that’s one sort of touch point on the heel. Another touch point on the heel is Turkish baths. So those shoes were imported during, I guess, the point where Italy was interacting a lot with Turkey. So Italian noblewomen, started wearing something called a shipping. And the shipping were very high wooden. They were almost platform shoes, but they were too difficult to walk in. So in actual fact, at that point, the only people who were wearing high heels were were aristocrats, and prostitutes. And the fact that that was the population wearing the heels, gave heels a certain connotation. So heels until very recently had a connotation of being frivolous, or for wealthy women. Then you fast forward to the suffragette Women movement, where women are looking for equality with men. What happened at that time is men would say things like, how could you possibly give the vote to women, they’re so frivolous, they were uncomfortable footwear. So suffragettes actually started wearing flats. And that what you see, I’d say, up until the 80s, or the 90s, is a strong correlation between women’s place in society. So for example, after the Second World War, when women became more feminine, they left the workforce and started working at home raising their families, high heels became higher. And in fact, that’s in parallel with a technical evolution. So at that time, you were able to do injection molding on heels. So you can start putting metal bars so that the heels wouldn’t collapse if they reached a certain height. And this kind of broke in the 80s, when you saw that first generation of women going to the office, and becoming lawyers starting to work in funds, starting to work for consulting firms in professional services. So it was that sort of Bonfire of the Vanities era. And today, I would say heels are less political than they were before. And what does the heel represent to a woman? Because I think that was the second part of your question. We did a lot of psychological testing. There’s a lot of women who don’t like heels, they find them comfortable, uncomfortable, and they won’t touch them. However, when we did the psychological testing, what we asked women to do was interact with a group while wearing flats. And while wearing heels. And across the board. What was fascinating is the group took the woman in heels more seriously. But the woman who was wearing heels, also took herself more seriously. So for some women, I would say today, heels, make them feel strong, powerful, in control, professional, and also beautiful, sexy, seductive. So I’d say the modern woman who does wear heels has a whole bunch of values that she associates with them. And the woman who doesn’t wear heels, doesn’t know what she’s missing. Because there are, you know, other ways of consuming heels today.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Definitely. I mean, that’s the very fascinating history of heels. I didn’t, I didn’t think you would go in that. But definitely thought about the heels and you’ve read the history of heels. It’s very, very interesting. How long ago did you start your business? And I know, we were talking a little bit before you said that you really started in the retail space, you know, brick and mortar stores? Can you share a little bit about you know, what did it take for you to get the business started? How did you know that? Given that you wanted a product like this for yourself for your own needs, that there will be a market for more on a broader scale? Did you do some sort of like a market researcher?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

No, I didn’t. Because in a past life, I used to teach disruptive innovation at Francis, one of France’s best engineering schools. So I taught technical disruptive innovation in a business to business concept. Sorry, a business to business environment. Sometimes my English is a bit weak. And I knew enough from my disruptive innovation theory work, that there’s very little point testing a disruptive, innovative idea. So I was going mostly on intuition, and my own personal feeling. And in fact, the company doesn’t do as I’d say, traditionally, we didn’t do too much market testing. I’d like to do more now.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. And so you had this intuition? Did you? Can you share a little bit about, you know, how did you get your? Did you have a prototype? How did you get it manufactured? And initially? And did you basically just start a store? Or did you put your product in like other retail stores and see if you know, people are going Yeah, so

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

that was a very long process. I started by doing what I was able to do at the time. So I started by trying to buy a patent and trying to buy a factory, because I do have a private equity background. So that’s something that I could do. But the patent that I tried to buy turned out to test very poorly. So I didn’t pursue that. And I’m really lucky, I didn’t buy the factory, because they were specialized in army boots for the French army. And I didn’t know then, but I do know now that that factory would have never been able to buy, or sorry to manufacture a high heel. So I then said about hiring engineers and shoe designers. So to finance it, I sold my apartment in Paris. So that gave me my first million euros. And I was able to pay a team of 14 engineers and designers for three years. All in all, we came up with six different prototypes. And finally, we got it right. But it took us another year and a half to make that initial prototype look like a luxury shoe.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

That’s very interesting. So you basically went all in. I mean, these days, if you think about, you know, when people talk about starting businesses, and the whole Agile methodology, it’s almost like you know, you, you want to start really, really small, even trying to touch the market before you know you, you even have like a product in hand. If you were to start in the future, if you were to start at the same business, or start a new business from scratch something like this, would you do things a little bit different differently?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

I would do it completely. So let’s be very clear. If I was to redo this business, I quite simply wouldn’t. What I do is probably more difficult than, like this makes everything I’ve done in my life before, looked like it was a cakewalk. And I guarantee you I had the kind of big deal jobs that people brag about. This is so incredibly difficult in every single aspect, from manufacturing, from the fashion aspects. From the tolerances. I’m always tweaking with heel molds. Fashion cycles, in terms of treasury management are very long service providers or software companies, you know, and I’ve worked for both, they can get away with providing, you know, try Shopify, I mean, 80% of that doesn’t work. But nobody cares, and nobody’s very accountable. But if my shoes and heels don’t work, even if a customer’s a tiny bit dissatisfied, because the delivery is two days late, because FedEx couldn’t get it together, I get a one out of five star review. So I’m held to these impossibly high standards, for example, on my website, at the moment, very it was not working very well hasn’t been working for three entire weeks. And because of that my sales are one quarter 1/4 what they normally are, and so yeah, it’s, this is absolutely complex, what I do, and you’re involved in so many different aspects of the business, I feel a bit like, you know, those old fashioned one man orchestras, because I do some things. On the other hand, I’ve become, I’d say moderately achieved in almost any given subject that you can throw at me. So to make this very clear, this company is really difficult. And if it would be to be done again, I would just do something easy.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. In terms of manufacturing this product, are you doing it within Europe or are you going to China from someplace like China, what I’ve heard from some of the other founders that are in footwear, business or other or other similar kinds of businesses, the approach that they take, you know, they will hire a designer designer will create the design, and then they will take the design to a factory in China who produce a similar try the products and the factory works with them, they will create prototypes. So it’s almost like, you know, they’re doing a lot of the heavy weight lifting. And then, you know, they produce the products. And, and of course, you know, you probably get some sort of cost savings of producing items in China. So I’m gonna,

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

I’ll answer that question. I can’t do that for for several reasons. The first is moral. I don’t believe that Chinese people are less good than me. So I have nothing to say about China. And I have nothing to say about offshore production. And kudos to them for being so successful at what they do. And part of that is definitely related to price. However, I’m part of the European ecosystem. And I definitely want to be part of my community, here in Europe, where I pay taxes, and where we stand for certain values. And for certain labor practices, and for certain ethical practices related to leather and leather tanning. So those things are very important. For me, that’s number one. Number two, a Chinese produced shoe has certain characteristics, which I would be anxious to avoid. So to get a Chinese factory to work to my quality criteria, is possible if I’m a much bigger company than I am. So from the outset, those two reasons meant I didn’t even look in China. And then in terms of designers, obviously, I tried to do exactly what you described, said the first designer I work to worked with, I’d hired him on a freelance basis. And he was the shoe designer of Balenciaga at the time. And he couldn’t do it. Because he didn’t understand multiple height. He didn’t understand the technology, and all of the shoes that he designed, were either liquidated or destroyed. They weren’t horrible. Yeah, so I design everything now. And then in terms of manufacturing, before COVID, I owned my own heel factory here in France, just so I could make sure quality was perfect.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I mean, to me, it seems like I’m really curious about you, it seems like you’ve done so many different things. How are you more? Do you consider yourself to be very entrepreneurial? Or how have you been able to get so many ventures and I think you were saying you had like some different jobs and even teaching in the school unit? Yeah,

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

no, I’m very entrepreneurial. I’m very entrepreneurial. I’m, I don’t know how to explain it, I’m, I have a lot of problems. For example, I’m not a very emotional person. I’m a very logical driven person. So that makes it difficult for me to be in the fashion space, which is, you know, about emotion or about passion, or it’s very difficult for me to think that way. At one point, I’d been recruited to be the Director of Google here in southern Europe. And so they give you a whole bunch of IQ tests, etc, etc. And the human resources person, or it was it was a headhunter, sorry, I’m searching for words in English. She said, We’ve never tested anyone so high on the rationality index, you’re just okay. All on your own. So yes, I’m very rational, and I’m very entrepreneurial. I, you know, I’m born in Canada, my parents, my mom is Indian. I live in France. And I think when you have such a diverse background, you’re, you are more entrepreneurial, because you’re constantly you’re constantly noticing that things are done differently. When I went to India as a child, I would spend hours watching the person who made sugarcane juice, you know, who would come to my grandfather’s house. And this guy had a modified bike, a blade, and a press. And for me, he made the most wonderful potion I’d ever drunk in my entire life. But I remember fixating on this notion of ingenuity when I was five or six. And I was fascinated by how so many people were able to do brilliant things with very little and I think that that’s something I deeply respect.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah, I think there has something has to be said about you know, when, when you have you’re constrained on resources and you have very high competition, I think it it brings out in January in In January, in a way that I mean, I’ve grown up in India. So I’m definitely very, very aware of what what you’re talking about. So a little bit about your

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Could I just brag for one second. So four years ago, one of France’s leading luxury firms, was interested in possibly acquiring my company, or they were interested in my company. So they audited my shoes. And the director of their factory called me and said, that it was the best combination of fashion and technology, including the helm is Apple collaborations that they’d ever seen in their lives. And he’s like, how on earth did you do this? By yourself? And that for me, you know, I might not be a successful entrepreneur, but I’m certainly a successful innovator, or creator, that for me, was just very flattering feedback.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah, I think that I mean, we know that a lot of disruptive innovation always, or for most most part comes from, you know, someone who, who starts up from from from nothing, really. And I think something has to be said about, you know, the passion that someone brings in the ideas and the execution that a single person or you know, a small group of people can do, which I think when, when it becomes a big company, and you know, department and things like this, it’s like, it’s almost like, people are executing on something, but there’s no heart there. And I think, you know, there’s something about that, you know, that passion and drive, you know, making something great that only either a single entrepreneur or a small group of people can can do.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

We’re a small group of people. And I think one of the things that for me, for example, I haven’t had a salary in 13 years, my friends, don’t even ask me if I want to go skiing in the Alps anymore, because they know I can’t afford it. But I see this company as my fourth child. And for me, it’s very important to nurture it, and to bring it as far as I possibly can. And if this fourth child would die, you know, say we would go bankrupt. That would be truly heartbreaking for me. So I do my 80 hours of work per week, I’ve invested every cent of my savings in this company, we do, we do make money, I’ll be honest with you, at the moment, we’re only making 7%, of what we made in 2019. So we’ve been deeply affected by COVID. Because professional women have by and large, not gone back to the office. So the drivers, why would you buy my shoe, it’s to wear in the office, it’s for weddings, and it’s for travel. And those things were deeply affected by COVID. So we’re seeing a slight increase, and then you can just get annihilated by Shopify Plus Beriah. At any rate, it’s just to say, I think you’re right about the passion. And and for me, I feel very strongly about what I do. Because I fundamentally believe that women do need a shoe that helps them reach the top and doesn’t get in their way, either if their health of their success of their aesthetic of anything. And this shoe, because we have eight different heels in eight different heights. It should enable them to be whoever they want to be.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely challenging how COVID has affected the whole world? Do you ever think like, can you take what your current capability or shoot or something like that and pivoted in some way, maybe to a different product? Which has higher demand? Do you ever think about this or your

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

your definitely be the director of innovation of virtually any company? Because so I’ve been approached by different companies to become their director of innovation, not now, because now I’m starting to get old. But I was very surprised. And you know, in that kind of conversation, I’ve asked, you know, why are you interested in me? And they’ve said, it’s clear, like it’s crystal clear that you have a different way of seeing things, and that you’re always thinking about a different way of achieving something that’s either the same or slightly different. So I’m just wired that way. But I also think I could go back to finance or I could go back to management consulting.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

I mean, I was I was asking more like, so. You said, you know, there’s the demand of maybe high heeled shoes has gone down. But I’m sure there’s like maybe sneakers, or are

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

not passionate about, okay. Yeah, I’m not passionate about shoes, I’m passionate about women. So I’m doing this, really, because I wanted to provide women with a problem that most of the heel, high heeled wears of their face. So if this company was to end, I wouldn’t seek to do anything in the shoe space, I would seek to probably get involved with energy and the environment. But I’m more interested in making the world a better place, then in sneakers. And you know what, there’s 300,000 brands out there all doing a wonderful job on sneakers. I don’t even wear them. And I have nothing to bring that market.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So right now, in your business, how can you share a little bit about your marketing? How are you going about even in a challenging environment, you know, acquiring new customers.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

That’s hard. But we’ve never done any marketing. So there’s zero marketing from the beginning of this company to now. But now it’s what I’m doing at the moment is I’m trying to get Shopify applications to work, which means I’ve spent the past four months harassing support desk, we had Shopify payments, which came to France. And that rule out was, for us a complete catastrophe. So we installed Shopify payments, and not a single sale for two weeks. Like when I say a complete catastrophe, it was terrible. What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to get the website to be stable. And I’m trying desperately to improve our mobile UX. Because if I look at the data, about 80% of the people who are connecting to the website, are connecting from their phones, and our Mo, our mobile experience is not great. We have a difficulty in that. Most merchant applications are built for something which would be product, color, and size. And I offer product, color, size, and size range, I won’t explain it. But the fact that I have one extra definition that the client needs to take into account has created a lot of headache for us to become digital. So I’m almost ashamed of our UX. And I always tell people, I beg you, if you want to buy a pair of shoes, you know, pour yourself a wonderful cup of tea, and take half an hour of your life, because that’s how long it’s gonna take to get that first pair of shoes and the first three or four pairs of heels as they move forward. So when I’m convinced that our UX and our conversion funnel are okay, so I’m going for a conversion funnel of about 1%. I’m then going to start working timidly with Google ads. I lied, I’ve just started working right now. So today with an SEO team, because we have competitors in this space right now. And they dominate SEO, so they don’t dominate product, but they dominate marketing. And I’m, you know, this stupid girl here alone and in Paris, I have a better product, but my marketing is non existent for to be improved.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

How are you? Are you the only person in your business? Are you? Are you working?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

No, I have somebody who does finance. And I have somebody who does development work almost full time and another person doing development work part time. But so it’s a very small team. And then we use some external professionals that believe it or not, it’s sort of you know, back to that story about that very first designer from Balenciaga. A lot of professionals quit. Because as I said, what I do is very difficult, and sort of their normal bag of tricks doesn’t work in my company. So it’s not unusual for the last three designers that I’ve tried to hire. All three of them have quit. Okay, and that’s crazy. We’re talking just about design. So all of the design that you see on the website, etc. I did that myself. And you know, I’m not sure if a 50 plus woman who doesn’t have any design ability whatsoever, so I don’t even just design the shoes, I have to design the website, I have to I, you know, I take the photos, it’s really, because if you ask the photographer to take the photos, he wants to take a photo of the shoe with the heel on it. And that’s just not the point. The point is that you show the shoe and you show the heel. But for some reason the photographer’s been everything that photographer knows is that a shoe must look a certain way. And that’s terrible for my company, because then I just become one of the million brands that sells shoes. And I need to find a better way of projecting our what’s what makes us different. And what makes us special.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Very interesting. I mean, when I when I look at your site, and when I look at your social media, I think I don’t really see any difference versus like a big brand, right? It’s like everything is very polished and looks really high quality. And

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

you just made my day. I thank you. And if I’m ever in Toronto, I’ll take you out for a drink. Like that’s really a tremendous compliment. I mean, from you. Yeah, I do that all myself. Every year. I mean,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

yeah, that’s, that’s great. I mean, it looks really great. But I guess maybe

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

further than that, the legs if you don’t see a person, those are my legs.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. All right. Cool. Well, so you’re really driving it completely on your

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

life. As I said before, our sales are currently down to 7% of what they were in 2019. So since 2000, I’ve let go of 11 people, and you know, just to keep the company afloat. So that means I’m now doing everything.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. Um, in terms of your very Are you selling globally? Are you selling selling only in Europe?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

So we’re selling online and the site should be working online properly. Canada’s my second market because the shop in Toronto, you know, it was wonderful. We won the 2017 Canada retail challenge for any ladies who might be listening who actually remember that store. It was in Yorkville, there were heel walls everywhere. It was an absolutely stunning boutique. So I still have a lot of very faithful clients. Our repurchase rate is 76%.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. In terms of your fulfillment and shipping or you do warehouse everything in betters, how do you ship it out?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Warehouse in a volume of Paris? Sorry, and and outskirts of Paris? Because if I was warehousing in Paris, I’d be spending. Yeah. I can’t even calculate it. But basically, it would be too expensive. Yeah.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah. Cool. Cool. And in terms of shipping, Id you charge customers shipping costs. Are you? Is it built in the product cost itself?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Not built? No. It’s not built on the product cost? Because my product is for a lot of people my products expensive. So obviously for me No, because I know what’s going into it. But I can understand, you know, in the Toronto market, if you look at a pair of shoes coming from camper, which is a Spanish brand made in Majorca. Those shoes are at least twice as expensive in Toronto, as they are in Paris. My shoes in Toronto are less expensive than they are in Paris just because of tax. But because I ship everywhere in the world for me to get a pair of shoes into Australia cost 90 euros for me to get a pair of shoes into Canada cost 30 euros. So I charged Canadians 25 euros. And for me to get a pair of shoes into a home in Paris costs three euros. So since the price difference is so huge. I prefer making it visible because it changes based on the geography.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So I mean, it seems like a very, very challenging endeavor running the business. Are you are you hoping that this is kind of like a ramp, you know, see slowly you’ll be able to figure out the you know the The key to the puzzle market marketing and everything and it’s going to take off is that, is that really what you’re gunning for?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Yeah, I quite literally. So I think I mean, I’m inspired by Dyson Dyson, it took him 12 years to sell his first vacuum cleaner, and he never gave up. So in that respect, I’ve sold probably 160,000 pairs of shoes. And I’ve probably sold three times more heels. So I have sold product. But I’m very marginal. However, I have such a strong repurchase rate, I have a good reputation. I have people who are very quiet, but who love the brand. And I think you know, there are quite people out there, there are people who don’t, I’ve never left a review. So why should I expect all of my clients to? I think I’m ahead of the game. So I mentioned before that I was ahead of the game in terms of sustainability. I think I’m also ahead of the game in terms of technology. I think I’m ahead of the game in terms of instant personalization. We were never funded. And you know, I have a private equity background, and I’ve raised hundreds of millions of euros for other companies. I find that astonishing. But I kind of get it. I was on the way back from Ken one year. And I was asking a guy, it was an investor event and I was like, what, why didn’t you want to invest in my company? And he’s like, look, I don’t wear high heels. And he goes, your your product might be wonderful, but it has no relevance to me whatsoever. So my dream is, is that there will be somebody I don’t think it’ll be a fund. But there might be an angel investor who believes that it’s worth giving us a try. And the other thing that might get it, I might one day get the marketing right.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. Are you doing a lot of social media? Are you on Tik Tok? I mean, tick tock is, when I talk to a lot of E commerce. That’s like, tick tock is the place where you acquire a lot of customer. Are you trying out Instagram and Tiktok? Because that seems like that’s where especially like this kind of space, marketing to women. I think that may be a great marketing venue. Are you trying that?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

So I want to try it. I’ll be very clear with you. When tic tock first came out, I was just hoping it would go away because I was thinking oh, yeah, another platform. And then when Donald Trump when was going to cancel tic tock that was probably his only policy initiative that really got me excited, because I was thinking this big problem will go away. However, in reality, I have the most tick talkable shoe in the planet, you can actually take off. So you know, if somebody was willing to have a camera on them and click on deals, they will become a tick tock sensation. So I should become a tick tock sensation. So I just have to get my act together. You know, so when when I think that my UX and my applications are working well. So one of the things I want to do in September is try to invent it, like try to identify a Paris based tick tock wannabe and just unleashed her with issues, but it really won’t be me. So yes, I’m interested in Tik Tok. I have a tiny little presence where I’m really ridiculous. And I think it’s because somebody like me has no business on Tik Tok. We did a marketing survey, which was absolutely fascinating. Because in my marketing survey, I was able to look at France as a market and to look at international as a separate market. So over 70% of my international clients are on Tik Tok. And in France, it’s only 2%.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay, interesting.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Yeah. Yeah, it was, I think in France tick tock is still seen as a kid’s network, whereas internationally, it’s matured a lot.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah. So in every entrepreneurs journey, there’s always mistakes made Lessons Learned failures, can you share maybe, you know, one big mistake or failure maybe in the last year or so? That you think, you know, you’ll learn something out of that and what can other entrepreneurs take away from your mistakes?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

I don’t know if this is applicable to other entrepreneurs. It might be applicable only in the fashion space buying Nature, I’m used to managing larger themes. And I’m the kind of manager who, I’m more of an enabler. And I tend to trust people to do things. What I found in my company, is, I have to micromanage a lot more than I would normally. And if I don’t, we go very quickly into a huge mistake. So that’s one. And then the other deeper mistake that I made, is, I didn’t trust myself. So until very recently, I would trust the expert. So for example, a foundation issue. problem for me was the marketing experts who were around the company when I was considered the next big thing told me women were scared of technology. And you could never talk about the innovation to a woman. And because they’re coming from companies like L’Oreal, or Louie Vito, I believed them. And in actual fact, loyalty marketing has changed since so now they do talk about the innovations that they put in their skin cream. And that kind of advice turned out to be intergalactically wrong for my company, and it created years and years of problem. But I think you touched on something that is true. I wait too long. I waited too long to get onto Instagram. I’m waiting too long to get on to Tik Tok. I waited too long to become digital. And I think it’s because I’m profoundly none of those things. I’m not a digital person. If tick tock never existed, it wouldn’t change my life at all. And Instagram. I’m not sure if I’d be on Instagram. So I guess it really goes into my absences as a person.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now I’m going to move on to next segment of the interview called the rapid fire round. In this round, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions. Maybe one or two words, one book recommendation for entrepreneurs or business professionals.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Okay, so I would like to preface this rapid fire by saying that I lost all of my brain cells during COVID. And I can’t read one page with and remember what I read. So I would say my favorite book when I used to be a professor was crossing the chasm by Christensen, Harvard professor. And that remains relevant to me today.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

An innovative product or idea in the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about? innovative product radio.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Well, the last thing I just bought were these electric tennis rackets which kill mosquitoes and make a very satisfying buzzing sound as you kill them. So I found that that was innovative, fun and useful.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

does have a lot of mosquitoes are

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

so many you have no idea. So now everybody in my house has one of these tennis rackets. And when they come out for you, you just SWAT and we’ve all gotten really good at our mosquito serve.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

I don’t use too many and I’m not thrilled with the ones that I do use in the larger application. I’ll just give a good plug for Clavijo probably like everybody else. I love Clavijo like it’s just it’s it’s AI for the little guy it’s so satisfying. Everything works. I love Clavijo logic. i It’s my favorite tool out there

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

a startup or business in E commerce retail or time that you think is currently doing great things

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

can I pass on

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

that? Sure. Sure. I blank. I mean, you did mention Klaviyo which is pretty interesting.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Okay, yeah, no, I deeply love CLEVEO

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

appear entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

I guess my mentor. So my mentor is the head of Repetto. And that’s French princes largest luxury shoe brand. And you know, that person is set up with me until late at night poring over financials trying to find a way out of problems. When we had the riots in Paris, he offered to send a team to build fortifications around my boutique so that it wouldn’t get destroyed. Just a very helpful, nice person. He has never shared commercial contacts with me, and he refuses to do a collaboration shoe. So there’s a limit to his niceness. But he has been he has been helpful. And he taught me a lot about the shoe business.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Final question, best business advice you ever received, or you would give to other entrepreneurs?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Yeah, when I was on the board of directors of my University in Toronto, so it wasn’t my university, it was my college. It wasn’t called the board of directors, it was called the Governing Council, we had an individual who everybody wanted to get rid of. And I had the privilege of sitting beside Rogers of Rogers, cable and television. So the person who had founded it because he was an alumnus of my college. And I asked him why everybody was so hypocritical and two faced whenever this individual was in the room, and he told me that for as long as somebody’s working for you, they’re your person, and you have to nourish them, and make sure there is performance as possible. And you behave that way until you can get rid of them. So I guess what this has translated into for me, is, I don’t undermine people ever. And if they’re my people, they’re the best people in the world. And I might have a difficult conversation with them. But I would never do anything. bitchy, deceitful behind their back. Because I believe very strongly that a business is made up of people. And it’s better to have happy people very fundamentally.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Cool. Those were all the questions that I had written. Yeah, thank you so much for your time today for sharing your story from Paris today. And for the challenges and strategies and tactics that you use to start and grow your business. So yeah, thank you so much. If somebody wants to purchase your shoes, or get in touch with you, what is the best way they can do that?

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

Definitely on online. And please do you know that it would really help us out? We were never funded, but there’s nothing better than selling a pair of shoes and heels. So it’s www Tani heep.com.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

That’s the thoughts on Thank you, Tanya. Again, thank you so much for your time today. I really, really appreciate it and I wish you all the best in your business.

Tanya Heath of TANYA HEATH Paris  

And thank you, I’ve enjoyed chatting and the questions. were fun. Thank you

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