As much as we love high heels in all their different shapes and colors, after a while they can really hurt. Before launching her luxury footwear brand Elizée in 2021, Erika Carrero, Founder, CEO & Creative Director, had that same problem. But not anymore!
Please share with our audience what inspired you to start Elizée.
My motivation came from my personal experiences as a finance executive, where I traveled for work and needed to dress professionally which including wearing heels. I was constantly in pain from wearing heels all day, and sometimes had to change into flats by the evening. I just couldn’t find shoes that were both stylish and comfortable, and that was when I realized there was a gap in the luxury shoe market. That was where the idea of having my own brand started.
Comfortable high heels usually have a big platform, yours don’t need that. Tell us about the technology behind your shoes that makes them so comfortable.
In partnership with master Italian shoemakers, and podiatrists, I designed a unique insole that alleviates the pain of wearing high-heeled shoes. The result is a luxury brand that understands the modern woman’s need for sophisticated design, while delivering comfort to empower her busy, complex lifestyle. What makes our shoes unique is our Plush Contour Insole, the signature innovation of the brand. It was developed over the course of a year in collaboration with podiatrists and our amazing artisans in Italy, and we use it in all the shoes in our collection. It is a 3-layer, customized insole that uses high-density memory foam, responsive memory gel that molds to the foot, and gives the sensation of the foot being cradled in comfort. The top layer of soft, breathable leather pampers your foot as you step on it, while the whole insole is sculpted for maximum comfort and shock absorption. Our Plush Contour Insole is a big part of our value proposition. But besides the comfort, there’s the elegance and luxury in our intelligent design, which flatters the foot with feminine lines; the high-quality Italian leather we use, and the great care that we put into the patterns and construction. An example of intelligent construction is that our shoes don’t have any seams that would rub and hurt your foot, especially in sensitive areas like ankles or bunions. Our straps are adjustable. They look sexy but are functional and hold the foot securely, while stability platforms reduce the height of the heel and increase comfort. I am on a mission to prove that style and wearability can go together.
How did your background in business operations impact the launch of your brand?
Reconciling the fashion aspect of wearing heels with my business side was sort of seamless because heels have been important for me in the work environment. I love how heels make me feel, at work as much as in the rest of my life. The fields of software and finance are often male dominated by, so heels allowed me to be taller and have a presence in a room full of men. In those situations, going into a board meeting, heels made me feel more confident and empowered. Given my full-time career, having my own shoe brand started as a hobby. I learned about the luxury shoe industry in my free time for more than six years, attending classes and traveling to Italy. Finally, Milan is where I connected with my current team. I was lucky that everything aligned. At the time, I was CFO and partner at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. Once the company was successfully sold, I finally had the time and resources to launch my passion project, Elizée.
What is your go-to Elizèe shoe for every occasion?
I love the Ametista! It is ultra-sexy and versatile. It is made of buttery soft python-stamped leather with a subtle metallic sheen that can add sparkle at night for an evening outing and also goes perfectly with jeans or day dresses. It has a strappy silhouette and flattering fit. It is the perfect pair for traveling – for resorts, dinner in the city and work meetings. I named this style after my birthstone Amethyst so it really has a special meaning to me.
What do you have planned for the future with Elizée?
We are always reevaluating the leathers we use, the insole components, and the heel shape. We are currently in the process of researching the next generation of insole technology. I continue to work with podiatrists to test our new prototypes while incorporating the latest materials and designs from a fashion perspective. Our approach is to listen to the customer and design heels based on their needs. For our new collection, we have developed a new mold for a heel that provides enhanced stability at 60mm. This height is not common among heel producers, but we got strong feedback from customers that, for comfort, 60mm is what they need. We are also adding wedges with beautiful shimmering leathers from SS23 and 50 mm booties that I am sure will be the go-to booties for Fall 23.