Rebecca Allen: Shoe Designer & Entrepreneur - South Shore Moms

We’re thrilled to share our latest fashion find—and partner—Rebecca Allen. This chic line of nude shoes has already gained buzz everywhere from Elle to Refinery29, and it’s easy to see why. First of all, the shoes are gorgeous; the line is a curated collection that includes a two-strap sandal heel, a modern yet classic pump and a minimalist pointed toe flat called “The Skim”. Rebecca Allen, a Black mom of one with a background in finance, started her business to provide sophisticated styles that were practical yet wearable—and available in five shades in order to complement women of every complexion. We chatted with Rebecca to learn a bit more about her and her brand:

 For those who aren’t yet familiar, how would you describe the Rebecca Allen brand?
We exist to support women to do their best work. For our customers, we’re empowering women everywhere with every day sophistication. For our seller network, our goal is to support women everywhere to be entrepreneurial on their own terms.

What was the “aha” moment that lead you to launch?
 I worked in finance for many years and all the white women in my office wore this quintessential nude pump—it lived under their desk. It took the headache out of pairing a shoe because it just went with your leg. I was always looking for an equivalent because when I put on a white person’s nude it looked silly on me. It was just a gaping hole in my closet. There was Louboutin making a few different shades, but it was expensive and the red bottom wasn’t appropriate for my office. I just felt like, well why not me?

Your products are made in Brazil. Why did you make this choice?
Brazil was a very practical decision that has worked out amazingly well. We researched production in China, where about 70% of shoes sold in the US are manufactured, but the order minimums were really high. We researched a few factories in Europe, but it was very expensive for the price point we wanted to be able to deliver to our customer. Brazil was a “Goldilocks” solution, where they worked with us on minimums and price. Our factory manufacturers some big name designers, which was nice validation for us in the beginning. And we work with a fantastic women-led team!

 Amazing. What is your favorite product in the line and why?
 Right now it’s the flat, the Skim. I mean no one has been wearing heels and so the Skim has been the perfect go-to when you want something that is a little more of a pick-up than a sneaker. I have worn so much athleisure during the past size months, but I find that my whole mood shifts when I *actually* get dressed. It feels good!

Agreed! How is the Fit Expert opportunity different from other network marketing ones?
It is a modern income opportunity that bridges the gap between Direct Sales and Affiliate programs. We support sellers’ success through best-in-class onboarding, training and ongoing encouragement. We retain our talented network by offering delightful and evolving perks and incentives that make material differences in their financial, emotional and health wellbeing. There is a glaring gap in Direct Sales participation from Black women and WOC. We are the first company to put Black women and WOC first for our seller network and at the heart of our product development.

We like to think of our Fit Experts as salespeople without the physical store. You drive your traffic, but there is no need to actively recruit and build a team, etc. We know that direct sales can be an incredible source of supplemental income, especially for women, but it often gets a bad rap due to the recruitment requirements. We wanted to make is super flexible for our network and didn’t want it to feel onerous.

What makes a great candidate for Fit Expert?
The great thing about being a Fit Expert is that you don’t have to be an expert! And you certainly don’t need a huge network or anything like that. Really the best candidates are just excited to jump in and willing to follow our process. We give you all the tools and resources you need get up and running, so you just bring a positive attitude and the commitment to hold yourself accountable.

As a Black female business owner, have you faced discrimination on your path to grow your business?
My biggest struggle has been finding investors. Black founders (men and women, together) receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. Most investors are white and male and have no framework or reference to make sense of this inclusive opportunity. There hasn’t been blatant racism, it’s just that they don’t know Black people to ask, “hey, what do you think of this?” or even have Black friends. People in the decision-maker roles are often not Black and mostly not even women making decisions on products for women. There is a reluctance to recognize the wallet power of Black consumers although you can look at the numbers. We have to walk people down the road and size the market. We have to show other examples of where this works like “look at Fenty beauty and their success.” You always have to prove more with less, so it’s a constant frustration to operate under that constraint.

What is your best working mom strategy when life gets hectic?
Intense scheduling and list making! This is certainly not groundbreaking, but my husband and I sometimes get lulled into complacency going with the flow, and then when things start to derail we need to get back to basics by sitting down and plotting out the week so everyone gets their “me” time in and gets to feel productive and balanced. I use Google calendar (I keep one for work and one for personal) and I use Amazon Alexa to make lists so that I can get things noted in the moment. I can’t keep anything in my head otherwise I will stay awake all night.

How do you practice self-care?
 Haha, see above. Emptying my head really helps. Also, getting in bed early so I have time to read. We live in Brookyn, NY and have been going to the beach on Long Island on the weekend. We’re up early with our little one so there’s no one there and we’re home in time for nap. The beach is empty and feels private. For me, a dip in the ocean is far and away the most restorative thing. I feel lucky that we can live in the city and still be pretty close to the water.

What’s next for you and your brand?
We are working on new products in new categories. Part of the fun of the Fit Expert role is being able to offer input and feedback on what we’re cooking up. We have always thought of Rebecca Allen as a brand that makes solutions for our customers. As we’re all spending more time at home now, you can definitely look out for more solutions that focus on navigating this current environment – lots in store!

 Anything else you’d like to add?
Last year, brands spent almost $70 billion advertising on Facebook. Imagine if we redirected even a little bit of that money back into our communities and local economies? That’s what I’m here for!

This story is sponsored by Rebecca Allen.

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