At Home With Lorraine Kelly 2017 - 64
Royal Ballet and
The luxe Clapham
loafers come in several
colours, £105 a pair
With shoes, it's often a choice between comfort
and fashion... but here's a British range that proves
you can have both at the same time
anan Leo says she founded
Cocorose London to stop her
feet hurting. Ten years ago, as
a young professional working
and living in the capital, her daily
commute was a never-ending challenge.
'Running for the bus, traipsing up and
down escalators and standing for long
periods on packed trains were all too
familiar,' she recalls. 'And experiencing
all this while in uncomfortable and
impractical heels just added to the
burden of my journey.'
Yet this was her dilemma: she refused
to wear shoes she felt frumpy in, no
matter how comfortable they were.
'I was constantly buying new shoes
in the hope the next pair would offer me
the solution I needed,' she says. 'They
never did. So eventually I decided
to create my own range: light, comfy,
well-made footwear that could fold away
in a handbag if, when you got to the
office, you anted to change into heels.
So in 2007 Cocorose London was born,
and Janan, despite having no fashiondesign background, created her first
prototype - it was stitched together using
a pair of lace footsies and a rubber sheet!
Surprisingly, that turned out to be the
easy part. The problem was then getting
her project to market. 'I approached
more than 100 shoe factories all over
the world, but nobody was interested
in working with a start-up - and, more so,
a shoe that didn't conform to traditional
design and production,' she says. But
she was determined not to give up.
'Thankfully, I don't give up easily and,
after what felt like ages, I found a
manufacturing partner who was willing
to help set me on the path to getting
my first samples into production.
That was, however, only the beginning.
At the time Janan still had a full-time
job in New Product Development for
Virgin Trains, and she couldn't afford to
give it up because, not only did she have
to support herself, but she also needed
money to fund PR and production costs
'For the next three years I was living
a double life: working my day job during
the week and relentlessly building
Cocorose in the evenings and weekends.
'Finally my collection was ready and
I launched online in May 2008. I also
took a stall in Brick Lane market in East
London so I could chat with customers
and get the brand name out a bit more.
'There were boxes and boxes of shoes
all over the house - but thankfully, my
Hackney Gold and Leopard
ultra-cool slip-ons, £90