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INTERVIEW: Laura Villasenin of Miista Shoes

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Thara: How did Miista begin?
Laura: Miista was founded by Laura Villasenin in 2010 when she began working on her debut collection for the Spring/Summer 2011 season. After graduating from LCF Cordwainers and spending time working in both corporate and independent companies she felt it was time to venture off on her own. Seeing a hole in the market, Miista strives to provide incredible quality and forward thinking style at a mid price range.
Thara: What does Miista provide that makes it unique from it’s competitors?
Laura: Miista is unique in that we are very focused on NEW. With each season we look to expand our capabilities, push ourselves further and develop new techniques, constructions and looks. You’ll never catch us playing it safe or copying from our peers – and right now, especially within our price range, that is quite rare.
Thara: What hurdles or difficulties did you encounter when first starting?
Laura: At the very beginning it was just Laura. A few months in Una began interning and for the entire first season Laura was wearing every hat in the company — designer, accountant, sales, production manager, etc and this meant a lot of learning from experience and sometimes making expensive mistakes. The only way to get the proper knowledge is to dive in head first and thankfully it all worked out!
There were also some production issues that made the first season very stressful. Of course it happened with the best selling style and after all the orders were placed the production proved faulty. This turned into a crash course in dealing with factories, maintaining high standards for quality and forging honest relationships with customers. At this point we are in a great place with our factories but it definitely was a long road!
Thara: What has been your most memorable experiences during the development of Miista?
Laura: The launch of our Spring/Summer 2013 collection ELECTROMANCER was beyond any expectation. The response that we got from both stores and customers blew us away. Spring really helped put us on the map and get in touch with a wider customer base — and has made us so excited for the future of the brand!
Thara: What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Laura: We hope to continue bringing innovative and irreverent new styles to the market while expanding to include new elements — we are introducing handbags for Autumn 2013 and in the next few seasons we hope to begin releasing men’s footwear as well! We’re in a period of incredible growth at the moment and are working like crazy to cement MIISTA’s place in the shoe world!
Image courtesy of Miista Shoes

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