How did the Jennifer Chamandi brand come about?
Jennifer Chamandi was a dream of mine ever since I was a kid.
Describe Jennifer Chamandi in three words?
Feminine, classic, distinctive
How does your typical day go?
My typical day starts with waking up with my twins, if I’m lucky closer to 7am than 6am. I have breakfast with them, get them ready and drop them at nursery if I don’t have an early meeting. I’m usually in the office 9.30am to 6pm, when I respond to emails, follow up on production, work on the new collection and do all sorts of admin. I have lunch at my desk mostly, a habit I picked up from my banking days.
I’m back home at 6.30pm, play with my little ones and enjoy story time before putting them to bed. I’ll either go out for dinner with my husband and some friends or clients or cook dinner with my husband. I usually end up looking at trailers on Netflix and before deciding on something to watch I fall asleep.
What have been your bestselling designs so far?
The classic Lorenzo pump style and the Rolando strappy sandal style, both with my signature Eye of the Needle in the heel and the removable strap. They come in many variations, from plain classic to a playful mix of colours and textures.
My flat styles have also been very popular as there is a real need for beautiful, formal flat shoes.
What is the ultimate pair of shoes every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Classic pumps. The Lorenzo in my case.
What are your five favourite things about London?
Running in the park; we are blessed to have all these amazing parks around London.
The culinary experiences London offers across all types of cuisines.
I moved to London 15 years ago and felt instantly at home, surrounded by so many cultures and feeling welcomed.
For entrepreneurs, London is such a pivotal city and offers incredible exposure.
Setting up my business in the UK was so smooth and was facilitated by all the systems in place to encourage new start-ups.
What’s your most treasured shoe creation yet?
My very first creation. The Lorenzo stiletto, with its Eye of the Needle heel that I developed with my manufacturer Lorenzo, after whom I called the shoes, will forever remain my most cherished design.
Where do you get inspiration when creating new collections?
Women around me inspire me; their stories, their feedback, their requests. I listen and adapt with my vision.
What makes Jennifer Chamandi stand out from other shoe brands?
The signature Eye of the Needle heel and its removable strap is the essence of the brand’s DNA and makes every shoe stand out and be recognisable. Also comfort has been at the forefront of my design process; the first reaction a woman has when trying my shoes is to say how comfortable they feel.
How long does it take to make a pair of Jennifer Chamandi shoes?
The prototyping of the signature heel took nine months, like a baby in the making.
Making a shoe can take a few days from start to finish as it is mostly handmade.
How important was it to secure a factory for production in Italy?
The Made in Italy label was a founding element of my brand ‒ I decided I would only launch if I had secured a factory in Italy. I learnt Italian in four months to be able to translate my business plan to Italian as my manufacturer didn’t speak English at the time.
Who would you like to see wearing your designs?
I already have such incredible women wear my designs that I couldn’t be more proud. One of my clients owns more than 20 pairs of my shoes.
In terms of women of influence, it has been an honour to see Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan wear a few pairs, and I would love to see HRH the Duchess of Cambridge in my designs, as she champions British designers and comfort is at the forefront of her choices.
What’s next for Jennifer Chamandi?
Jennifer Chamandi will be launching in the US by the end of this year, at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.