It’s another Monday dear Your Next Shoes readers and today, we’ve got a special exclusive interview to get your week off to a great start!
We sat down with Violet Tashchyan, founder and designer of Violet Tash Shoes, and talked to her about what’s it like finding inspirations, being born into the business, and making the bold decision to retain all shoe manufacturing processes at home in the USA.
Violet Tashchyan founded Violet Tash Shoes only two years ago but shoes and designing are two things that are definitely not new to her. Backed by a degree in Interior Design and Architecture plus the Tashchyan Shoe Manufacturing Company that has been around for 30 years, you can say that shoe designing is second nature to Violet Tashchyan as it’s practically in her blood.
The first Violet Tash collection was launched a little over a year ago. Now the brand is gearing up for this spring and summer with a collection of elegant strappy leather sandals, unique wooden heels with embellished hand-carved platforms and hot-to-have clog-inspired shoe styles.
Ms. Tashchyan also talks about which of her shoes are her own personal favorite and which she considers must-haves — find out which shoes they are in this YNS exclusive interview with Violet Tashchyan:
1. How did you get into designing shoes in the first place?
My dad owns and operates a shoe manufacturing factory for 30 years now. The factory used to be in downtown LA. I was pretty much born into the business. When I was a little girl, my brother and I would go to the trade shows in Las Vegas and NY and play on the floor in the show booth while my parents conducted business.
I got a degree in Interior Design and Architecture from FIDM, and worked in the field for 5 years but when the economy went down south that business came to a stop. I went back home and started a shoe line with the help of my dad.
2. Where do you look to for ideas and inspiration for your shoes?
I was living in NYC and my parents were in LA. When I broke the news to my family that I wanted to move back home and start a shoe line, they were real happy and excited. They flew into JFK, picked me up and we traveled the world. From Europe to China. I looked at all the street fashion and high fashion in all the places we visited and based the first collection off of that.
(On her shoe designing process) The shoes had to be comfortable. that was #1 priority. I can’t imagine any New Yorker wearing a pair of shoes you can’t walk in. And #2 they had to be hand made with allot of intricate details. Handmade is what makes Violet Tash Shoes different then any other brand out there.
3. With a huge percentage of US shoe brands outsourcing their manufacturing processes to Asia, was it a difficult decision to have Violet Tash shoes made in the USA? How has this decision affected you and your brand?
If my name was going to be on a shoe line it had to be made domestic. I’m born and raised in Hollywood Hills California and about 10-15 years ago there were plenty of manufacturing factories in downtown LA making clothes, shoes, bags and etc. Now, I can count on one hand how many factories exist in LA. It makes me sad just thinking about it. When people hear that the shoes are made in America they look at us and almost can’t believe it. People definitely show more interest when they hear “made in America”.
4. What’s your favorite part of being a shoe designer? Your least favorite part?
My most favorite part of being a shoe designer is testing out the shoes! Sometimes I end up having the same shoe in many different colors and I also get to have shoes that aren’t sold to the public. My whole entire office and closet at home is filled with shoes, shoes, and more shoes. The traveling doesn’t hurt either. The least favorite part is paperwork and office work, which is the most important part of business.
5. Now that you’ve launched a couple of collections, what is your typical day as a shoe designer like?
My typical day would be: wake up, have a cup of coffee, go to the factory, spend some time looking and getting inspired by fashion magazines, browsing the Internet, putting color combinations together, try to make a new sample shoe a day and dealing with paperwork.
6. What is your signature style?
Every shoe needs to have a little detail. Some styles have chains, some have hand carving on wedge bottoms, some have gathering in the front and all wood bottom shoes are hand carved and polished from raw lumber. It just feels better to be wearing shoes that aren’t assembled by a machine.
7. Do you have a personal favorite among the shoes from your current collection? Which of your shoes do you think a girl MUST have in her shoe closet?
Violet Tash Cowgirl
I personally love “cowgirl” which is a classy wood bottom closed toe cowboy platform. It looks great with pants and shorts and skirts. The color combination is soft earth tones that can easily be paired with jeans and tee shirts. You can wear this in the winter and summer.
Violet Tash Maze
“Maze” is a must have. Every girl or woman needs that one go-to shoe that’s comfortable enough to wear all day and cute enough to rock during the night.
8. Who is the Violet Tash girl?
The Violet Tash girl is the jet setter. She travels a lot and needs key pieces of clothing and shoes that can easily be paired with any outfit and mix and match outfits and accessories and still have it work. She looks for comfort but always needs to be on top of fashion.
9. What’s in the pipeline for Violet Tash shoes?
Looking forward I see the brand growing and expanding in many different directions. I want all the big department stores in America to carry my line and support all domestic made products, because that’s the only way America can regain its manufacturing factories. Also, you can always count on my styles to be comfortable and different then any other shoe line you see in the market.
10. Care to share a great shoe tip for shoe lovers out there?
When a shoe is too tight put it under hot water and wear them until they stretch out. This way your feet won’t hurt when breaking in a shoe.
Dying to see more Violet Tash Shoes? You can check out the rest of the collection at Shoebuy. For shoes that are handmade, uniquely designed and made in the USA, Violet Tash Shoes are surprisingly reasonably priced between $74.95 to $299.95.