It may seem like a stereotype but women do love shoes. Just look at the stats: The footwear business is a $48 billion business. Samanta Joseph, CEO of Samanta Shoes, is carving out a niche with her company. It specializes in stylish large-sized shoes. Launched in 2003, the company reportedly grossed approximately $1 million in 2010.
TNJ: Why did you start the company?
Samanta Joseph: Every woman needs at least one great pair of shoes. Women that wear larger shoe sizes and desire current fashion trends are frustrated by the lack of availability. Samanta Shoes is dedicated to solving this global problem.
TNJ: How did you fund the start up?
SJ: Small business loans, friends & family and by investing all profits back into the business.
TNJ: What were some of the obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
SJ: In the fashion industry, establishing a niche market and brand recognition are the most difficult and expensive stages of a company’s development. Samanta Shoes crossed this threshold in 2009 when we secured a wholesale agreement with Amazon.com, our billion-dollar retail partner. This major milestone created a tremendous opportunity that required additional capital to satisfy a significant increase in demand. Unfortunately, the United States economy was in the middle of the worst recession in the country’s history. Our banking partners reduced all of our lines of credit, and our friends and family lenders started demanding their money back to cope with their personal real estate and job losses. We did not want to walk away from the opportunity to work with Amazon.com, so we made the business decision to take on expensive purchase-order financing, and temporarily increased our interest payouts to friends and family lenders. As a result, we were able sell over $1 million to Amazon.com.
TNJ: What are some of your plans for this year?
SJ: We are less focused on our wholesale business, and dedicated to using our website to build personal connections with our customers.
TNJ: What are your goals over the next five years?
SJ: 20 years ago there were limited fashion options in the plus-size clothing market, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. History is repeating itself with plus-size shoes, and Samanta is one of the top fashion brands in the market.
TNJ: How do you stand out from the competition?
SJ: Samanta Shoes is dedicated to serving a group of women that are often overlooked, and made to feel inferior. Women that wear larger shoe sizes, desire current fashion trends, and are frustrated by the lack of availability.
TNJ: How do you compare with the bigger companies?
SJ: Customer service is where we destroy bigger companies. If an issue does come up, we are not afraid to ask our designer and CEO to call a customer to let them know that they are important and special.
TNJ: What makes your line unique?
SJ: Samanta creates life-changing experiences for women who have trouble finding stylish shoes with comfort in their size. Samanta offers large-size women’s shoes in size 14, size 13, size 12, size 11, and wide width sizes.