Emmy Scarterfield of Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes ~ An Interview with the Designer…

It has to be said; I am a HUUUUUGE fan of Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes.  Huge.

Last month, I got to meet my shoe designing idol, Emmy Scarterfield, at the Designer Wedding Show, where we talked 5 inch heels (5 inches!), hair accessories, and children.  Today, I'm thrilled to bits to be featuring an interview with Emmy, as part of my 'Absolutely Beautiful Weddings' series of interviews (click here to visit the full section relating to this event).  I have been keen for a long time to learn more about Emmy, what inspires her, and

"I’ve been designing since I was a child! I used to put wooden blocks into my socks to make high heels.  I have always wanted to be a shoe designer, I love them. I lived near the Mulberry Factory and as I got older I would get my friends to hold my ankles as I dangled over the wall to get scraps of leather out of the bins.

However, I started designing accessories when I was at Cordwainers College in London where I studied 'Footwear and Accessories Design, marketing and product development’ and from there went onto designing accessories for luxury fashion brands Bottega Veneta and Armani in Italy where I lived for five years."

Me in my beloved Emmy 'Crystal Pearl' wedding shoes, on my wedding day in March last year {the first day of Spring, and gorgeous it was too}…

Photographs below Copyright (c) 2009-2010, karen McGowran Photography

My beautiful 'Crystal Pearl' Emmy custom made wedding shoes... My beautiful 'Crystal Pearl' Emmy custom made wedding shoes...

How did you come about the idea for Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes?  
"When I came back from Italy I worked for various brands setting up accessories lines including French Connection through to niche labels Jessica Ogden and House of Jazz. During this time I was being asked by friends to design shoes for their weddings and became aware that there was a gap in the market for well designed, beautifully crafted shoes which were created with the same care as a wedding dress. I always knew I wanted to launch my own label but understood the difficulties related to launching and sustaining a fashion brand, so after some research I felt there was more chance of creating a successful wedding brand. Having worked at Bottega Veneta and Armani I also know how to produce beautiful hand-made shoes and that I could offer a unique, custom made service because I had the contacts with the best craftsmen in the world."

Elizabeth Peacock, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... Elizabeth, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...

How do you start out designing a shoe?
"I often sit down and sketch ideas but really each collection evolves over three months.  After the designs area finished we send designs specification along with a mock up on a ‘last’ (which is the mould of the shoe) to the craftsmen. I also give them some guidance on cutting the pattern and discuss shape and fabrics. When the first samples  come back I may tweak the shape, finishes, colour before then adding the trims and embellishments by hand."

Elize in Ruby, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... Elize in Gold, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...
Where do you seek your design inspiration from?
"The Chloe shoe which is one of our best sellers and one of my favourites was inspired by a vintage umbrella. I love old-fashioned glamour so I do look to the past for inspiration. I very rarely look at shoes to find design inspiration. It could be a film or a piece of old jewellery found in a vintage market. A new shoe from the Secret Garden collection has been created from some vintage fabric that was found in a local antique market in Islington. I do not really follows trends but create shoes which I think are elegant, beautiful and timeless."

The Chloe Shoe (left)…

Chloe_zoom  Eva Crystal, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... 

Can you describe the ‘Emmy’ customer experience?
"We have a lovely, pretty boutique studio in Islington which we try to make very comfortable and relaxed for anyone that comes to see us – When people arrive they often say they are in shoe heaven!  Emmy Shoes is  appointment based as it is essential that we give each customer enough time to chat and try on shoes and hair decorations in a relaxed environment.  Often people are nervous when they arrive as it is quite daunting going to choose a pair of ‘custom made shoes’, so we try to make them feel at home and offer a nice cup of tea if they fancy.  Before they arrive we advise that clients bring the fabric of their dress with them and sketches if possible.   We then show them different styles, they try on sizes and shapes and once they have decided on a style we will discuss heel heights, colours and embellishments. We also have a hair decoration collection and make pieces to order so may discuss plans for their hair.""

I have to mention here lovely readers, that I love too far away from London to have made a trip to Emmy prior to my wedding, however, Emmy's team sent me several pairs of sample shoes in the post for me to try on to help me decide which style suited me best.  I found this 'distance' service second to none. Vicky, Emmy's Assistant, who liaised with me the whole time, was extremely very helpful.

 D-vint-rose_zoom D-prlcrystclst-prldrp_zoom D-silk-ribbon-roses_zoom 

What about your bespoke service – what can a client who comes to you looking for a completely unique/one-off design expect?
"We offer a luxury product designed specially for our customer. All our shoes  are custom made for each client so no one pair is the same – that makes them unique.  If brides can’t make it to our boutique we do offer a ready to wear collection of the most popular styles which are available to buy from our website which is www.emmyshoes.co.uk. Here you can buy shoes as seen on the website and offer hair decorations."

Emmy hair accessory design... Emmy hair accessory design... Emmy hair accessory design...

Emmy hair accessory design... Emmy hair accessory design... Emmy hair accessory design...

Do you wear your own shoe designs?
"Yes of course!  I think I have the best job in the world because I can make shoes I love and want to wear. I also love wearing 1920’s style fans and head bands which I also design."

Rose, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... Rose, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...

Can you provide a price guide?
"For shoes we start at £260 up to around £700 . Hair decorations start at £120 up to £245."

Do you market your shoes purely as bridal shoes, or do you find clients buying your shoes to wear for pleasure/other special occasions?
"Currently we focus on marketing them as wedding shoes however, we can make our shoes in any  colour, with lots of trims and so often have clients who come back to have shoes made for them they can wear for work or parties. We recently made one shoe into a towering 5 inch heel in a vibrant violet with black beaded bow  – very sexy. We also get lots of mothers of the brides asking us to make shoes for them.  Eventually we will market the accessories as more than just bridal."

Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...

Can clients purchase your shoes anywhere other than your website?
"Most of our brides come to our boutiques. I have created a range with Jenny Packham and we also work directly with lots of other designers such as Louise Selby and Sassi Holford.  You can’t buy the shoes from them but we have examples of styles for their clients to consider.  You can also buy from Luella’s Boudoir.  We also try to do a series of monthly events working with other designers for example we have done events with Temperley London, Jenny Packham, Jo Thorne jewellery and  are about to do a major event at Claridges called Absolutely Beautiful Weddings."

Emmy, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... Eva, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...

Can you describe to me a little about why you feel Emmy appeals so much to your clients?
"Firstly our shoes are beautifully crafted, extremely comfortable and we ensure the quality is extremely high.  Each pair of Emmy shoes are made- to order and created specifically for our customer  and so there is no need for the bride to compromise on style and quality.  Yet are shoes are priced at the same level as many ‘off the shelf' shoes from top designers.  We  also offer  unlimited choices for a bride  and so no two pairs of shoes are the same – this makes them extra special.  Also, we try to offer a very friendly and approachable service  – working with brides is a very special, joyful experience."

Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...

What materials do you like to work with the most?
"Beautiful suedes and butter soft leathers. Plus we always put a Swarovski Crystal on the sole of the shoe so when I bride kneels at the alter she sparkles."

Are you exhibiting anywhere in the next 6-12 months?
"Yes ~  Absolutely Beautiful Weddings at Claridges with Sassi Holford, Magpie Vintage and Luella’s Boudoir to name a few.  Very exciting! We are also exhibiting at the London Vintage Wedding Fair on 11th April and we are doing an event with jewellery designer Jo Thorne on 6th March.  Readers can visit our website for updates on where other events are."

Leila, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes... Valentine, by Emmy Custom Made Wedding Shoes...
What are your plans for the future?
"Over the next five years I hope to open a shop and extend the range to include a fashion collection. I would also like to increase awareness in foreign markets – it would be wonderful to have my shoes worn by women all over the world.  In the next 12 months there are more collaborations with Jenny Packham also planned. But first of all I am preparing to launch my new Secret Garden collection  in March – this is a very whimsical collection which features shades of soft pastels and blush teamed with lots of detailing including birds and flowers. Each accessory is designed to whisk the wearer away to a magical place!"

Your wise words of advice to all those Brides to be looking for the perfect pair of shoes?
"To any bride preparing for her big day when choosing shoes stick to what you are comfortable in, if you normally wear flats I would suggest choosing a slight heal but no more than half an inch."  

Wise words indeed, although, I have to admit, I don't *always* wear 4" heels, but I did on my wedding day – and LOVED IT! {my heel cushions did me proud up to about 10am, when I could do it no more!}. 

To see you out, a little video of Emmy, speaking to Wedding TV

Thank you so much Emmy and special thanks too, to your PR Manager, Jules Smee.  I'm even MORE excited about seeing you next month now – and I didn't think that was possible! hehe! 🙂


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.