22 Sep AMINA MUADDI ON 032c
Brenda’s Business with AMINA MUADDI
“When I talk to peers about Amina Muaddi, it often surprises me how little they know about her journey to a multi-million-dollar shoe empire. It might be her looks or that a stiletto doesn’t exactly evoke visuals of struggle in our minds.
Amina Muaddi, the brand, is only five years old, but Amina Muaddi, the founder and designer, has worked in fashion for the last decade. We sit down before her Italian-style summer break and discuss shoe production, sales strategy, wholesale business, and dictating a male-dominated market.”
BRENDA WEISCHER: I have one funny thing to start off with. I think people have this perception of you just coming out with a brand, and it being super successful. But they forget all the stuff you’ve done before. Being in magazines, then your first shoe brand Oscar Tiye. I dug in my email folder, and I found an email I sent to you in 2015. I was an influencer with, like, 30,000 followers, and I messaged Oscar Tiye asking if you do influencer gifting.
AMINA MUADDI: Oh, which model did you request?
BW: I don’t think I specified. I was more like, “Hi, what’s up? Do you do giftings?” I don’t think I ever got a response. [Laughs]
AM: Probably because I had one employee doing everything. But I appreciate that you knew about it. I feel like many people didn’t outside the Italian market, as the brand was based in Italy. Sometimes some of my clients say they’ve been following my work since Oscar Tiye, which I appreciate a lot because that was ten years ago.
BW: Have you ever publicly spoken about why you left that brand? It still exists in some capacity, right?
AM: I didn’t want to leave, to be honest. I wanted to work it out with my business partners, but we didn’t manage to. This brand was like my baby, so obviously it’s against your instinct to leave. It was either: I was going to stay or they were going to stay. In the end, I decided to leave because they wanted to continue with their own vision. I realized we didn’t match where we wanted to take the brand. Also, we were very young. And I feel like when you’re young, you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s like a game. You take it very seriously, but you don’t know what you’re doing. And I’m still learning things to this day.