|Heather Holt of Just Soles in her Manhattan apartment. Who needs furniture when you have shoes like these?|
To some, shoes are a necessity, a functional article merely worn to get from point A to point B. But for others, shoes are much more. A fantastic pair of shoes can brighten the bleakest day or enhance the most humdrum outfit; that extra-special pair can make most any woman feel like a million bucks. No one knows this better than Heather Holt, Founder and CEO of the new online shoe shop, Just Soles. This shoe goddess will eagerly share her sentiment for designers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Brian Atwood, and other high-end desirable footwear brands.
Born in California, Holt studied Theatre Arts at PCPA (Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts) and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career, but she had her heart set on living in New York City. While growing up, she was fortunate to visit NYC often with her grandmother, taking in Broadway
shows, city sights, and attractions. Just over three years ago, Holt made the leap from the West Coast and landed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She hasn’t looked back since.
|Heather Holt of Just Soles|
Holt thought long and hard about how she could fashion a career out of her love of shoes. “I loved the idea of having access to all these amazing shoes without that hefty price tag, and I loved sharing my shoes with my girlfriends,” Holt said. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Holt to host weekly get-togethers with her gal pals while sipping cocktails and modeling high heels. So, if there was any possibility of parlaying a shoe-shopping pastime into a business, she had to take the leap. Eventually, she left her job in the restaurant industry, making time for shoe biz, and Just Soles was born.
|Heather and friends in their red shoes|
Just Soles is like one big “dream closet.” Shoe fans can buy, rent or sell their favorite pairs of shoes and the listing fee is just 10 percent of the rental or sales price. Rented shoes must be returned in original condition, and those damaged beyond normal wear and tear will be charged the full retail value of the shoes. According to Holt, “It’s the only way I could protect the users who are sharing their shoes with consumers.” But, Holt has noticed that rented shoes are coming back in pristine condition thus far. “I think it’s because these shoes are coveted and works of art.”
|Laurent Perrier and pumps are a perfect match.|
Holt explained that the online shoe business is climbing every day; people are updating their wardrobes with shoes. “It’s more affordable to purchase shoes and rotate them in with multiple outfits, and it makes the outfits feel fresh and different every time.” Just Soles only adds to the available online options for all footwear fans out there. But, the difference in renting and buying is substantial. To have the means to purchase even a single pair of Manolos or Louboutins is a luxury, and for many women, far beyond their budget. (A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes typically runs about $900 and some styles are in the thousands.) “Shoe lovers get to wear some pretty incredible shoes they might not ever have had the chance to,” Holt said. The cost of renting a pair of designer shoes from Just Soles is just a fraction of the sales price.
That means you can rent a pair of Christian Louboutin Bianca platform pumps in turquoise for just $100 per week. Or, perhaps these Manolo Blahnik Dodo strappy sandles are more what you have in mind for your big night out this weekend. You can wear those for just $80 per week. Just Soles is available to New York shoe lovers, but the site is also accessible to shoe aficionados all over the country.
|Christian Louboutin Bianca Platforms rent for $100 per week.|
|Manolo Blahnik Dodo strappy sandals cost just $80 per week.|
Holt started her personal collection with shoe stalking on eBay, which was a way of getting those coveted shoes without that hefty price tag. Today, she admits to owning about 100 pairs, and about 30 of those are designer. She showcased much of that selection at the recent Just Soles launch party at Ludlow Studios in June. That evening, I was fortunate to model a five-inch polka-dotted pair with red suede heels from her fave designer, Brian Atwood. “Mr. Atwood is my favorite designer because his shoes are sex on a stiletto, but they are comfortable! I can last for hours in them,” Holt explained.
|I was the lucky girl who modeled these Brian Atwood shoes.|
Meeting Brian Atwood probably goes down as one the most memorable moments in the history of Holt’s shoe experiences. “I hadn’t used my Amex in a very long time, and called to make sure it would be approved for the charge.” AMEX told her a large purchase would be no problem. “Off I teetered in my polka dot maniacs by Mr. Atwood, only to have the shoes signed by him, and then my AMEX card was declined – twice.” Finally, the charge went through, but it was just a touch embarrassing.