Monday, 1 December 2014

Yo Mama! An Interview with Angela Roper of Ziera Shoes

Shoes. You either love them or you hate them. Actually. Let's tell the truth. We just love them. 

Today I'm talking with the Design Director of Ziera Shoes - Angela Roper. She spends her days surrounded by shoes. She's just like Carrie Bradshaw. Only from New Zealand. 

As a busy mum myself, I like to look stylish - but it's crucial to my day that my shoes are comfortable. Ziera shoes are about merging fashion with comfort. Back in July I was lucky enough to take a sneak peek at the S/S14 collection before it launched, and chatted with Angela then, so I'm stoked to be able to ask more questions about what makes her tick. 

Here we go!

PMM: How did you become a shoe designer?

AR: After completing my design degree, I opened my own business promoting and selling New Zealand designed products. After that I worked as a design manager for Bobux, an international children’s footwear brand and after a few years was lucky enough to land my dream job at Ziera. Two years later, here I am.

Started by two podiatrist brothers in NZ, Ziera launched with the belief women deserve the best of both comfort and style. How does this translate into your work?

We want to be the first option for women in shoes, not something they wear because they’ve already done too much damage. Obviously I’m tasked with ensuring every single product we produce offers style and comfort so from the shoe shape, fabrications and even technological advancements that give extra comfort, every aspect of my work focuses on this. 

You're a busy mum. What's the best way to manage the work/family juggle?

I’m lucky that my kids are now a little older so are getting to stage where they’re finding their independence (not that I really want them to). We always try to make the most of our time, like they do their homework at the kitchen table so I can help while preparing dinner. My husband is a great support so between the two of us we’re able to share parenting and balance that with our jobs. I leave early for work and he does breakfast, lunch and the morning drop off so I do the afternoon pick up, activities and dinner.

What's your best tip for working mums?

Finding the balance and having a great support team! My husband and I both have understanding employers that have a strong family focus so that really helps.

Where do you seek inspiration?

Where does any designer seek inspiration? I’m lucky enough to travel quite a lot and get the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people. We also have a Ziera Fit Club where we get customers to come in to preview ranges or new developments. Understanding a woman decision making process when buying shoes is essential. Their body type, foot shape and skin tone play such an important role. Spending time in Ziera stores and in other stores who stock our shoes around the world is always a great source of inspiration.

What's your favourite style (from Ziera) for this season? Why?

It’s a toss-up between our Paris heel in Snow Pony or Peta in Blush. They’re both such stylish shoes but soo comfortable. I think the Paris might win though because I love the texture of the Snow Pony fabric.

What's the best bit of your job?

Getting to play with shoes day in and day out. So many women in the world love shoes but how many can say they get paid to design them.

Is there a downside?

I’m running out of shoe storage at home and my daughters have now grown enough to fit into the Ziera range so they’re insisting I bring shoes home for them - but I don’t know if either of those is really a downside?

When I get home from work, I am usually pretty pooped. How do you re-energise before you walk through the front door?

I always take the drive home to calm down and process the day. I love coming home to my family and want to give them my full attention when I do. I find cooking and spending time in the vege garden relaxing and with a winemaker for a husband I can always help him with some ‘research’!

Best advice you've ever received? And who from?

“You need to be content with the now” - David Roper (my husband keeps me grounded!).

If you had to choose five words that described you - what would they be?

Individual, energetic, stylish, focused and driven.

Favourite book at the moment?

Favourite cook book at the moment is My Petite Kitchen by Eleanor Ozich.

How do you take care of yourself?

I use all natural skin care products and take magnesium to keep up energy levels. I enjoy my downtime with my family and I try to grow veges and cook organic & free range products (we have our own chickens - for eggs only!) I also know that finding time for myself every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes, makes a huge difference.

What's coming up next for you?

We’re getting ready to launch Winter to the media next month and then it will go into stores from January. Summer 2015’s almost done and we have started researching for AW16 ! 

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This is the 13th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. 

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