Shoe Business: dr. Liza Shoes

We are checking in with our friends in local shoe-related businesses to find out how they got interested in shoes, where the journey running a niche business has taken them, and what the future holds in a post COVID19 world. Sheila Knox, Head of Education and Programs poses the questions.

Dr. Liza Egbogah ~ dr. Liza Shoes

Why did you develop the dr. Liza pump?

I developed the dr. Liza pump after a decade of treating women with high heel related pain. I had smart and fashionable patients who wanted recommendations for healthy shoes to wear that were also stylish and I could not confidently recommend any. As a fashionista myself I also revelled at the thought of being about to wear heels all day on my feet as a manual therapist. So after 2 years of prototype development, I launched the dr. Liza pump - an innovative high heel that you can comfortably wear all day.

Tell me how you went about learning to develop your own line of shoes

Prior to developing dr. Liza shoes I had been prescribing custom orthotics and modifying orthopedic shoes for a decade so I had some basic experience. The hardest thing that I had to learn was how to draw - it did not come naturally to me at all. I spent hours looking at drawings of shoes and trying to recreate the lines. Once I was comfortable with drawing I drew my first dr. Liza pump design. Once I started to learn more about the making of shoes I learned that I had to study a whole new skeleton - the last of a shoe. I also spoke to several shoe makers to understand the process and visited a small shoe factory.

What makes your shoes so comfortable?

Each shoe is designed with support and proper biomechanics in mind so everything from the rocker sole in the pumps to the orthotic insole adds to their comfort. I took my most comfortable sneakers and attempted to recreate the gait pattern and cushioning. Although not a replica of the sneaker feeling - they are remarkably close - especially for heels.

Are your shoes made in Canada?

While the shoes are designed in Canada, they are manufactured in Brazil. In my initial research I found that there were no factories in Canada that could produce my shoes.

In your career as an osteopath, how did you come to treat A-list celebrities?

A few years into practice, I had an actor who came in to see me and was so impressed with the results of his treatment that he started to refer other actors. The luxury hotels in Toronto also became aware of my success with A-listers so they also started to recommend me to their VIPs for hotel calls. Between the referrals from actors and the hotels I was able to establish an exclusive roster of celebrities. I have also developed some unique treatments over the years that not only help you feel better but also look better - so when you are in the spotlight - those treatments are extra appealing.

Who is your typical customer?

The dr. Liza shoes customer is someone who is smart and fashionable and values quality. They want to look and feel good and understand the pleasure that comfort can bring.

How has the COVID 19 pandemic affected your business?

With the pandemic I had to temporarily close my clinic which meant that there was nowhere for customers to try on dr. Liza shoes. And with so many people restricted to their homes and financial uncertainty, there has also been a reduction in online shoe orders.

Do you foresee fashion taking a more casual turn, since we’ve all been staying at home in our comfy leisure wear? Or is there a pent-up desire to dress up again?

To me dressing up is synonymous with celebration and feeling good so with the casualness of being at home - I feel that people have even more of a desire now to dress up. I have even noticed more people dressing up to go grocery shopping - myself included- just to feel like their pre-pandemic selves again. And if you can be fabulous and comfortable - why would you not?

How have you responded to the Black Lives Matter movement?

Soon after George Floyd’s murder, I started a promotion to donate proceeds of the signature black dr. Liza pump to BLM Toronto. Although monetary donations help I feel like my most important contribution is to share my stories as a black woman in fashion, healthcare and the media. I have always been vocal but find myself being more so these days, as I feel that people are taking a concerted effort to listen.

Do you have a favourite shoe in the collection?

I am obsessed with the new dr. Liza sandal. They are so beautiful and comfortable that I have been wearing them to lounge on the patio. They truly make me happy.

Thank you so much Dr. Liza Egbogah for taking the time to answer our questions! To learn more about dr. Liza Shoes, visit her website here.

You Might Also Like