Mount Kisco mom and former fashion designer Kara Schwartz (or Kara Mac, as she’s also known) used to commute three hours a day to Manhattan, including a 25-minute walk. To survive that slog, she would arm herself with multiple pairs of shoes: a comfortable pair for the walk (“Never sneakers though!”), a pair for the office, and another for evening events, if one was on the agenda. And that’s saying nothing of the collection she had amassed at her desk. Wasn’t long before she was resolved to put an end to this nonsense. Enter Flop Girl.
Flop Girl is Schwartz’s line of customizable women’s shoes. Launched in December of 2014, Flop Girl shoes allow customers to interchange certain design elements on a standardized “base.” Currently, there are three styles available: a ballet flat with a small heel, loafers with a small heel, and a short, low-rise boot (also with a small heel). Interchangeable accessories include colorful sole covers (“sole sisters”) and interchangeable laces that fasten onto the front of the shoe (“clipsters”). So one day your flats can go incognito with simple black laces, and another they can pop with, for example, a shoe-out-loud green clipster.
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Schwartz is a fashion industry veteran who has designed menswear for the likes of Ralph Lauren. “After 25 years,” she says, “I realized it was time to apply my skills and experience to solving a problem that I, and many women, experience every day—‘I have a million things to do today and need a shoe that can work in all those circumstances.’”
Schwartz’s ultimate goal is to make the lives of working women easier. “Today’s woman wears many hats,” she says. “She might be a professional, a fashionista, a wife, a mother, a student—all at the same time. My product allows that woman to customize her look on the fly so that she feels beautiful, confident, and prepared no matter where her busy day takes her.” At least 40 percent of her customers are repeat customers, meaning that women who have previously purchased her product are so satisfied, they keep coming back for more. So far, she’s sold more than 1,000 accessories, and within the first two months of the launch, sold about half of her inventory. For now, all of her merchandise is sold on her website, but ultimately Schwartz envisions “a brick and mortar design-and-go shoe factory” akin to a Build-a-Bear Workshop. “It won’t just be making a purchase. It will be making a memory,” she says