Meet Mallory, founder of Mallory Musante Shoes. Mallory has combined her love of painting with her love of fashion into something completely unique that can be worn anywhere from a business meeting to the hottest new club in town.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I originally wanted to be a shoe designer making custom, handmade shoes. I took a 5-day class in San Francisco with a London-based accessory school, Prescott and Mackay, to learn how to hand make a pair of women’s pumps. After taking the class, I realized that it wasn’t feasible to hand make custom shoes for women because the materials are extremely difficult to find and sometimes very costly.
Then I met the owner of JGoods, a customization company that hand paints sneakers, at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization National Conference in Chicago in 2008. This sparked my interest and I wanted to know if there were hand painted shoes for women. I looked everywhere and only found a few different options that targeted very specific styles of women.
Since I’ve always painted, I wanted to try painting a pair of women’s pumps. I instantly fell in love and so did all my friends and family. So in 2009, I decided to start Musa by doing custom pairs of shoes and I have now expanded into creating my own line of Musa Signature Looks.
What was the most exciting aspect of starting your own business?
Creating something that is all my own. I love the idea that I started with an idea and I have now built it into a business. It is the same as the shoes I create. I start with plain black shoes and transform them into something completely different to create a pair of shoes that are unique and someone’s very own. I love seeing my vision come alive for both my company and the shoes I paint. There is probably nothing more satisfying or exciting to me.
What is the best lesson you could give a young women who wants to start her own business?
Be patient but persistent. There are a lot of ups and downs when you are first starting out so it is really important to be patient. I had so many delays and obstacles come up that I simply could not control so I really had be flexible. You can’t give up when an obstacle is put in your place, even though you may feel like it is the end of the world at the time. Be flexible and innovative to solve any problems that arise. Find something else to focus your time on while you wait on delays that are out of your control. Trust me, being patient and persistent definitely pays off. Once something positive happens for you, you will know that all the difficult times were well worth it!
What books/material have you read that has proved most beneficial or influential?
Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have to Cry Go Outside. She shares stories from both her personal and professional life to give you her secrets on how to succeed by discovering who you are as an individual and what you really want in life. It is a truly inspiring book that brings out your inner power chick.
Who is your biggest mentor/role model for success?
My biggest mentor has been a professor that I worked with at Bryant University. She helped me develop my idea to create a clear vision of what I wanted for my business. I don’t know what I would have done without her help! I continue to work with her even now. It is nice to have a professional to bounce ideas off of and consult with when I need her. I think it is really important to have a mentor of some sort to help you with anything you may need advice with.