The force behind Heelspirations by Shalini K. is none other than Shalini herself. Heelspirations by Shalini K. is a luxury shoe line made in Europe and based out of Toronto. Born out of a deep love for fashion and footwear, Heelspirations by Shalini K. focuses on bringing unique styles for the bold and brave women of today daring enough to take their styles to the next level and make a statement.
We got a chance to catch up with this stiletto-strapped beauty to find out a little bit more about what she does, and what she can do for you on your big day.
I am originally from Sri Lanka, and came to Canada when I was just a kid. I grew up in Scarborough but over the years have lived in different parts of the GTA. I like to think that I am a very laid back and friendly person, but I think my friends and family would be a better judge of that! To be honest I am basically just your neighbourhood girl with a big dream.
I started researching and looking into the footwear industry in early 2015, but I didn’t actually start anything till closer to the end of the year. Because it was an industry that I had no contacts or connections in, it took me a while just to learn the ropes. It was very difficult to get information because I didn’t really have anyone to turn to in the way of experts. I eventually enrolled in a couple of classes at The Sole Academy in Toronto just to gain some more insight and knowledge about what I was getting myself into. These courses turned out to be the push I really needed to actually get started, and here I am a couple of years later with a business in my hands and shoes in my closet that I can call my own.
About the Business
We provide custom shoe services allowing brides to be able to get a pair of shoes that not only look good, but also fit like a glove to complete their Cinderella story. All of our designs are modifiable to some extent to fit the needs of our clients, and we work with our clients through the process to provide them with a product that they are extremely satisfied with.
Do you provide these services for clients overseas?
Though I would love to say yes to this question, at this time we do not. The customization process is one that is very hands on and requires great attention to detail, and is not something that can be done over email or phone. If someone wanted a style that we already carried, then yes, we can ship it to them internationally, but for a custom pair, it’s not that simple. We would need to sit down with the client and go over the style in person so that no details are missed. The more changes there are to the design at every stage, the more expensive it gets, therefore to ensure the least amount of changes, we insist on meeting with the client in person at least 2-3 times throughout the design stage.
How far in advance would one need to contact you to have their heels custom made?
We prefer to be in touch with the clients at least 9 months in advance in order to ensure we get sufficient time to go over the design, create the samples and have a final product that the client is completely satisfied with. Keep in mind that the shoes are made from scratch, and each stage of production takes about 3-4 weeks to complete, and then it needs to be shipped from Europe to Toronto. But, we do understand that not all clients start their wedding planning quite that early and may not have that kind of lead time, so depending on the style, we require a minimum of 5 months for a complete pair of custom shoes. For any custom orders of existing designs (change of colour, material, heel style, etc.), depending on the change requested we require a minimum of 3 months for production and delivery.
What has been your favourite part about being in this industry?
My favourite part so far has got to be all the different people I have gotten to meet after getting into this industry. From really innovative wedding experts, to some well known social media personalities, I’ve had the chance to meet and work with some of the most talented people in the most interesting ways. And the best part is that most of what I do is really fun so it doesn’t even feel like I’m working!
Tips on choosing bridal footwear:
- Know your size. I know this sounds silly, because we all wear shoes on a daily basis so how can any one not know their shoe size? But you would be surprised at how many women who have come to me to try on a pair of shoes, and don’t actually know their size. Of course, all shoes and makes vary in size by a little bit, but it’s usually not so drastic that you jump more than 1 size. Knowing your size, especially if you are ordering shoes online, will ensure you spend less time searching for a size and more time actually deciding what style you want.
- Buy your shoes early. This isn’t just to ensure that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to find a nice pair of shoes that goes with your dress, but also to ensure you have sufficient time to break into your brand new shoes so that you are comfortable in them for the day of your wedding.
- Practice walking in heels. Even the most basic of brides who don’t wear heels on a regular basis typically want high heels for their big day to compliment their wedding attire. But this is a decision that every bride needs to make based on their comfort level with heels. Wearing heels on your big day if you never wear heels can end in disaster with one wrong step of the foot, so it’s important to make the decision in advance, and make sure you get lots of practice walking in heels before you throw them on for your big day – everybody loves a good laugh, but it should not be at the expense of the bride!
- Have a back up pair. If you opt to go with brand new shoes that haven’t been broken into, or decide on a pair of heels and you don’t normally wear heels, have a back up pair that you can change into in case you get uncomfortable half way through the night.
- Get grips. Planning on dancing the night away? Remember that dance floors can get very slippery, especially when the party goers spill their drinks. Investing a few extra dollars on grips for the soles of your shoes may be a great way to save yourself the embarrassment of falling in front of all your guests – definitely money well spent!
- Location. Consider the location of your wedding before committing to a pair of shoes. If your wedding is at an outdoor garden or on a beach, high heels may not be the best way to go. With every step you will be sinking into the grass/sand and waddling over to the alter like a drunk toddler!
Top trends amongst bride:
- Contrasting colours. A big trend we are seeing right now is brides rocking coloured pumps or high heels with their white wedding dresses to add a pop of colour. You can see this trend of contrasting colours with Hindu weddings as well as brides opt for saree blouses that are a contrasting colour to that of the actual saree. This trend is extending into accessories as well as many Hindu brides are now skipping the neutral whites, nudes, and blacks and going straight for the bright, bold reds, pinks, and purples.
- The barely there styles. We want our feet covered, but not completely, so a lot of women are skipping the open toed sandals and going for closed toed flats or pumps that range from mesh, to lace, to vinyl. This also compliments most wedding dresses as they have mesh or lace on them to begin with.
- Embellishments. For simple styles, intricately designed pieces of embellishments are becoming a quick favourite. From very detailed butterfly wings to simple beautiful gold adornments, embellishments have become a huge trend this year for brides looking to add a unique touch to their overall look.
- Fancy dress, simple shoes. Simple dress, fancy shoes. This is a timeless trend and pretty self explanatory. You don’t want to over do the look by adding fancy accessories to an already fancy dress because it would just be too much going on all at once. Rather, pick either the dress, or the accessories to be simple, and this way one catches the attention and all other details compliment it.
To check out more of Shalini K’s collections and to browse her website, check out http://www.heelspirations.com/.