It's estimated that between 10 and 25% of people experience bunions, which are bony lumps on the side of the big toe that cause pain. Chances are you or someone dear to you experiences this pain on a daily basis.
Jennifer Bailey is a long time bunion sufferer and the founder and CEO of Calla - a shoe brand that wants to make you feel like you're walking on clouds. Whilst Jennifer founded the brand with bunion-sufferers in mind, Calla is not just about comfort: the shoes are chic and stylish so women no longer have to compromise between style and comfort. Judging from the mountain of 5* reviews, Jennifer and her team are doing a fabulous job.
Read on to see what Jennifer made of our 10 questions.
How do you usually start your day?
I have two children aged 5 and 7 and my husband leaves for work before they get up so my day always starts with getting them ready for school.
I take them to school and either work from home afterwards or catch the train to Manchester where we have a co-working space where the team work from.
What was the catalyst for starting Calla?
I have suffered from a foot condition called bunions for most of my life and I had really started to struggle finding shoes to fit that were comfortable and fashionable at the same time. I ended up in a redundancy situation when I was pregnant with my second daughter and decided it was time to take charge of my future and to start my own business making shoes for women like me. I had no background in fashion or footwear, however I was fairly confident that there was a market for my idea.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I work all day during working hours except on Tuesday when I pick the kids up from school. The rest of the time they are in after school clubs or are picked up by a grandparent. It's exactly the same as if I had a job except I have the ability to be a bit more flexible with my time such as working from home a couple of days a week so I can spend some quality time with my children rather than be stuck in a commute. I make time for exercise several times a week as I think it is really important for mental health and keeping the stress levels in check. I'm lucky in that I have family near by who love to babysit so I try and get a date night in once a month so my husband and I make time for each other too.
The best thing about my work is…
The flexibility and that I’m in charge of my day and my life.
The most difficult aspect of my work is…
Wanting to do more but sometimes being held back because of needing to look after the children.
The woman who has inspired you most…
My mum who has always worked and had 4 children. She has always been like a superwoman to me.
I’m happiest when…
I’m on holidays with my family.
A memorable handbag story?
I love handbags! I think it’s because I couldn’t spend my money on shoes before I set up my business. I still do, but since I started my shoe business I have significantly reduced the number of bags I buy.
What’s in your handbag?
I have a laptop bag these days which doubles up as my handbag! So it is stuffed with all kinds of things: laptop, diary, notebook, makeup bag, pencil case, tissues, phone, packed lunch.
Tote or cross body?
Combo – handles and a long strap.