'I, the founder and chief executive officer of the brand, design the shoes. I get inspiration from my everyday life.' - Mathapelo Pitse
Mathapelo Pitse, who is the founder and chief executive officer of J’adore D’amour, started her luxury e-commerce shoe brand in South Africa. While it hasn’t always been an easy journey, her high heel shoe designs are gaining traction and attention on social media. She has cultivated a 13-year track record in corporate and luxury retail.
Pitse spoke to The Citizen about being in an industry that largely imports shoes.
Q: How old is the business?
Our brand was established in 2017, it’s four years old. However, we recently went through a rebranding exercise which is currently doing well.
Q: Where are you based?
We are a digital e-commerce footwear brand. We are based in Midrand.
Q: How did the business come about?
I’ve always had a love for fashion and knew I wanted to be a businesswoman. I later realized that I had an overwhelmingly large collection of shoes and people would ask where I purchased them. I later saw the opportunity for a shoe business after a few failed attempts.
Q: How does one get into shoe design?
Well, various schools offer various aspects of the footwear industry such as design, manufacturing, business design, and so forth. You would need to find what your interest is and focus on mastering that skill. In my case, all was self-taught through general curiosity. However, later in life, just to get a better understanding, I went to a design school and did a three month course, which I completed in a month. The University of Vaal is a recommendation for footwear fundies, however, there are various other accredited institutions available.
Q: Why did you decide to go into heels and not other types of shoes?
I am an ultra-feminine woman with a height deficiency so I’ve always gravitated to heels. Besides that, they are more fun to design…I can represent my style artistically as well they bring out the feminine and stylish aura I possess.
Q: Your range is high-end, how did you decide on this?
This is based on the amount of time and effort put into designing each shoe as well the cost of bringing the masterpiece together, however lastly and most importantly how the shoe taps into the emotional psyche of our consumer.
Q: What materials do you use?
We are very experimental with materials, playing around with fun, exotic and fine materials and components such as ostrich feathers, beads, satin, mesh, and so forth to name a few.
Q: Who designs the shoes?
I, the founder and chief executive officer of the brand, design the shoes. I get inspiration from my everyday life.
Q: Where are they available and what is the cost?
Our shoes are available on our website, www.jadoredamour.com, with various payment options. As well as a third-party stockist Zando & Takealot, our shoes are also available at the AFI conceptstore, House of Nala located at The Leonardo Hotel in Sandton as well as Africa Rise which is Thula Sindi’s designer concept stores in Sandton City and Menlyn Mall in Pretoria.
Q: What inspires you in terms of design?
Being in love, love for travel, love for beautiful things, love for life… anything love, hence the brand is called “J’adore D’amour” which means I love love. Which personally resonates with me and my design inspirations.
Q: Do you work from a workshop?
Funny enough, a lot of people and consumers think our brand has a corporate office, however, we are pretty much a growing brand, and we are still a home-based brand with a team of six talented and valued team members who work from theirhome to run this well-oiled dream machine.
Q: Who is the range speaking to?
The range is for women from all walks of life, who are feminine, stylish, empowered, audacious, timeless, elegant and iconic.
Q: What are your hopes for your business?
I hope to see more South African women wear and associate themselves with a South African brand like ours. J’adore D’amour is capable of competing with international standards and we also give back to society through our VSR mission, “No child should goto school barefooted”, where with every pair of shoes purchased, we donate a pair of school shoes to a disadvantaged child.