Lin, who admits to being the tiniest bit obsessed with shoes, launched Sam Star Shoes three years ago.
If you have even the smallest part of Sex in the City’s Carrie in you, you’ll have heard of the brand. It’s hard not to — Sam Star Shoes are featured almost monthly in the country’s leading fashion publications and adorn the feet of trend-setting fahsionistas from Sandhurst to Soweto.
In three short years, Lin has had the footwear range listed in 35 boutique stores across the country and has women panting after her unique and limited edition designs.
“I admit to being a shameless marketer. That’s really my strength. So I used the contacts I had built up in the media to push the brand and get as much free exposure as I could initially. I did a lot of cold calling. But it’s really paid off. For the past year I haven’t had to call magazines — they call me,” she says.
Fashion is in Lin’s DNA. She worked in Harrods and Joseph in London, and ran a fashion wholesale business before launching Sam Star Shoes.
“I’ve always loved fashion, shoes and pretty things. My mom tells stories of how I’d change my outfits three times a day as a little girl. But I never knew I could do design — until I tried,” she says.
To keep up with the latest trends she spends a lot of time travelling and constantly ‘walks the malls’ to identify new stores for her range. To many women it might sound like a dream job.
“There are certainly perks — I get to wear new shoes all the time, for example. But you have to work 200% harder than everyone else if you want to make a success in this industry. It’s tough,” she says.
That said, Lin seems to have cracked it. If confidence is the new sexy, she — and her shoes — have it in spades.
Trend-setting design coupled with a single-woman marketing powerhouse have got this brand noticed by the fashion people who matter.
For the Love of Dogs. An Interview with Brigitte Reeve-Taylor