Footwear designer Konstantina Tzovolou believes in the power of a good pair of shoes.
Tzovolou, 29, developed her own luxury footwear brand in November 2013 so that she could share her passion for style, art, and design with women throughout the United States. Her Internet startup, named KONSTANTINA TZOVOLOU, aims to provide women with unique, playful, and fashionable shoes for any occasion.
“The perfect pair of shoes is the pair that’ll make you feel like a billion bucks when you walk out in them,” Tzovolou said. “It’s the pair that’ll make you want to wear with everything, and the pair that’ll make everyone jealous with envy.”
Tzovolou’s current line includes patent leather heels, suede platform pumps, and ankle boots. The shoes, which are made in Italy, feature unique fabrics and materials such as PVC and mesh. They come in a variety of hues, from classic black and nude to bright turquoise and coral.
Tzovolou finds inspiration for her designs in her own memories. She was born in Greece and her heritage is often reflected in her shoes. “With all of the history, culture, beautiful landscapes, and colors, it’s really hard not to. And you’ll start seeing more of the Greek influence in the next few seasons,” she said.
“I come from a family of immigrants where moving to and from the U.S. was very normal. Although it wasn’t always pleasant, years later I am very grateful for growing up in two countries with completely different cultures that I both consider my homes,” she added.
Tzovolou attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to study fashion design, remained in the city, and based her company there.
She first became interested in fashion early in her life, after she watched the television show “The Bold & the Beautiful” for the first time. “One of the families of the soap opera had a big fashion house based in Los Angeles, Forrester Creations. I immediately became fascinated by the business and started designing ball gowns. I was 11 and still living in Greece,” she recalled.
Tzovolou was inspired to focus her design career on footwear because she was confident in her own shoe collection. “I never considered myself to be a great dresser or have an eclectic style, but I always had great shoes, and lots of them. So, designing shoes seemed to be the most sensible thing to do,” she said.
Before developing KONSTANTINA TZOVOLOU, Tzovolou had no prior experience in the field of business and refers to herself as self-taught. “With a lot of will, time for research and self-study there isn’t anything you can’t learn to do,” she explained. “My parents are also small business owners, who I’ve spent a lot of time observing and admiring over the years without knowing how much it’ll affect me later on in life.”
Tzovolou left her previous career in the world of buying and merchandising in order to start KONSTANTINA TZOVOLOU. “It happened so fast, I can’t even remember. All I know is that one day I was pondering on the idea, the next day I did the financial breakdown, and a few days later I was on a plane to Italy to meet with factories. The fashion industry wastes no time,” she said.
Tzovolou was motivated to develop her own online business when she witnessed the success of other Internet startups. “The eCommerce world was vastly growing at the time and I wanted to explore it and be part of the next big thing. I’m always up for something new and challenging,” she said. “[An Internet startup] is less risky and has the potential to gain bigger visibility.”
Tzovolou has realized that Internet startups do have their hardships. She explained that one difficulty is “not being able to speak to your customers and know what they want and don’t want, like or dislike from your business. Consumer interaction and engagement are key for every retail business, something that can’t easily be interpreted online.”
Tzovolou tries to market toward her potential customers by any means possible. “I never focus on one advertising channel and spread it across multiple ones until I know which one has the biggest return for my buck,” she said.
Tzovolou hopes to expand her designs to include shoes for men. Her current line of footwear is available online at KonstantinaTzovolou.com, and the online retailers The Collecte, Runway2Street, and Inspirare.
Christina Raus is a creative writing student who plugs her ears with her fingers whenever anybody tries to tell her that a degree in writing is good for nothing more than to guarantee her a lifelong, fulltime job as a barista. She works as a tutor at the Western New England University Writing Center, where she empowers students of all academic disciplines to express themselves through written language. After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree, Christina intends to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing.