Friday, August 26, 2016

Shanks Shoeware: The New Classic High Heel

Heels! Heels! And more heels! I say a girl canNOT have too many heels, at least not this girl. That's probably why I became quickly attached to Ines Shanks and her fabulous high heels. Not too many accessory designers catch my eye like Shanks Shoeware did. I quickly became enamored with the idea of the classic high heel and interchangeable Heel Caps. Shanks Shoeware will be accessorizing several designers at Phoenix Fashion Week this October 13-15. What you may not know is Ines Shanks is based in Austria just outside of Vienna in a town called Walpersbach. Ines shares her world with her husband Phillip and their young daughter Elena. So I was thrilled when she chose to sit down with me for an impromptu photo shoot and interview.

How did the concept of Shanks Shoeware come to light?
The reason is simple: my Heel Caps came out of my own personal desperation dealing with uncomfortable high heels and the never ending story of slipping out of my shoes. Most heels are uncomfortable and after several hours tend to hurt. A favorite pair of shoes gets worn very often, and let’s be honest it is a bit boring always wearing the same color.

So I developed my Heel Caps to virtually tie your shoe to your foot and along the way I thought I should make the perfect High Heel to go with it. Now I can wear my Heels pain free for several hours and don’t have to worry about slipping out. They are the little black dress for your feet. Shanks promises you to be “Always on Trend - A unique shoe accessory for the fashion conscious woman”.

Did something or someone happen for you to not only recreate the classic pump but to bump it up a notch?
Not really. I just wanted something stylish, yet classic, with a focus on comfort. The higher the better! The hidden plateau offers all the comfort to wear a heel in this height. Another big thing for me was to keep the shoe very light. Most plateau shoes are very heavy and we manage to have a very light shoe. With Shanks High Heels and Heel Caps you just don’t need to worry about anything, just go ahead and be gorgeous.

                                                                                                                                        Please explain what a heel cap is. Are there different colors or patterns?

The modular Heel Caps are high quality, exchangeable leather covers for the rear quarter of the high heel and work together with exchangeable leather bands. They basically tie the shoe onto your foot, which gives you extra security. The many different colors and styles give you the opportunity to match them with your outfit and change it up as your mood strikes you. 

Are heel caps a one-size fits all heels?
The newest ones are, yes. They are universal and fit almost all shoe sizes and many different heel types. The original Heel Caps were in S/M/L depending on the shoe size. I was not 100% satisfied with the size situation because it was not a flexible or versatile solution. I am very proud that the newest ones are universal and very happy that we now have a product which fits so many different heels. 

What matters to you most when it comes to your Shanks Shoeware? 
Versatility and comfort matter most to me. I want women to realize the high level of comfort and quality of my heels and that my Heel Caps are a complete new fashion accessory which allows them to use trendy colors without investing in new quality shoes each time.

What has been your biggest challenge in marketing your brand?
The biggest challenge in marketing my brand is finding the right sales channel and hopefully being given a chance as a young dynamic company with a completely new product within a new market. 

With shoe trends ever-revolving, what steps will you take to stay on trend with your brand?
I tried to keep the high heel timeless as much as possible so we can work mostly with the Heel Caps in different styles, colors and patterns to keep up with the fashion world. I am contemplating if I should come out with a funky seasonal shoe, but I am not sure yet.

FFF: Oh please do a funky shoe! Wouldn't we all just love to have a pair?

You are now deep in the throes of Phoenix Fashion Week’s Designer Bootcamp, how challenging has the journey been?
Very! I am taking it very seriously because I see a big opportunity in this fantastic program, especially for me being from Austria. I hope this will turn into a door opener or stepping stone for my company to get into business with American chains and retailers. The PHXFW Team is teaching us some great things and even though it is challenging for me because of the time difference between Arizona and Austria (any video calls are in the middle of the night), it is for sure worth it and I’d hate to miss any of it. My hardest personal challenge for sure is my own impatience and the balance between work and private life.

FFF: I believe many women entreprenuers struggle with the challenge of finding that right balance between their professional and personal life. 

What do you think will be the most valuable tool you will learn here at Phoenix Fashion Week?
I think the most valuable tool I will learn will be what is necessary to make a good professional first impression at retailers. This includes having all forms and documents ready and to know what I want for my brand and how to achieve it 

Being from Vienna Austria, do you find the fashion industry more or less challenging here stateside? If so, how?
The fashion industry is very challenging no matter where in the world you are. But to be honest I
Heel Cap Straps

Heel Caps

personally always saw this product in the States. It is the belief in limitless options and the appreciation for new innovative products in America that I found would work well for us here. So I am working as hard as I can to make this work as I always pictured it. This makes it into my biggest challenge!   

Any special influences in your world that gives you inspirations? If so, who?
I am inspired by the individuality of all women. We should have the chance to adapt to the upcoming fashion trends. I offer women a perfect shoe and a new shoe accessory because it allows them a way to set fashion statements on a daily basis while striving for individuality and uniqueness. I try to manage these attributes in a very elegant way. 

Are there any other aspects of the fashion industry that appeal to your creativity?
Heel Caps
Well… it is all fascinating to me. I have done some handbags with the same versatile concept. I strongly believe in two things: first we need to be able to fit our purse with our shoes; and second, we hate exchanging our purses because moving everything from one to another takes a lot of time. Therefore, I wanted a solution for a purse fitting my shoe style and a quick and easy way to change the color without emptying my whole bag.

The outcome is a high quality leather bag with a large format as well as side zippers, which makes this a bag for every occasion. It is handmade in Europe!
Perfect for business, it accommodates a file folder or laptop. It is a perfect leather shopper.
The exchangeable sleeve and carrying handles, available in different colors and styles, offer even more varying possibilities and allow you to reinvent your bag style to fit your shoes and outfit. 
An amazing additional benefit is our removable carrying handles which turn into belts by using our included belt buckle.   

As you know, Austria can get fairly cold in the winter. I hate wearing a hood because it always
messes up my hairstyle. So I started a little winter knitwear collection. 
It is a stylish and practical solution to combine hood and scarf in the most perfect way. Women's hearts will beat faster because the loose fit of the hoodie will keep their hairstyle in perfect condition. The Legwarmers are a stylish product that fit perfectly with Shanks High Heels. This eye-catching accessory can of course be worn with any other shoes or boots. The Armwarmer completes the Winter Set. The genuine leather edging shows the typical Shanks style.  

Tell us….what do you do for fun, during down time in Austria?
I like to spend my down time with my family and friends, going for a nice dinner with my husband or an evening at the movies, and spending quality time with my daughter. I love camping and hiking or generally spending time in nature. One of my biggest loves is dancing. It gives me the opportunity to shut it all off. 

To get your very own pair of Shanks High Heels and Heel Caps go to:
Follow them on Instagram at @ShanksShoeware

I want to give Ines Shanks a huge thank you for taking time to do this interview. I know her schedule is quite busy, so we here at Film and Fashion Futures are grateful for your participation. Enjoy!

See you on the runway!

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