From provocative crystal encrusted sandals, (worn by Mariah Carey in her Obsessed - Remix video), and eye-catching Zebra striped boots, to alluring leather flats and heels, this brand has something for everyone. The collection features boots, sandals, pumps and handbags that are sure to spice up your fall wardrobe and highlight your own personal style.
So where in the world is Carmen...Steffens? Just like her world traveling counterpart, (Carmen Sandiego), she can be found in over 130 stores worldwide. Well, maybe not literally, but her exclusive, beautifully fashioned footwear and handbags are available in Brazil, Portugal, France, Australia, and Spain; just to name a few. If you can’t find a store nearby, you can always surf through her handcrafted wares online at CarmenSteffens.com.
The Carmen Steffens franchise is expanding throughout Europe, with additional plans to open stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo soon. Currently, their only presence in the US is at the Westfield Fashion Square located in Sherman Oaks, CA. Happily, there are plans in place to expand to the New York, Boston and Miami markets by year-end.
Originally a leather tannery that supplied raw materials to European and North American buyers, the company, operating under the name of Couroquimica expanded in 1993 to designing shoes and handbags that they produced themselves out of their Franca, Brazil headquarters. The head of design, Monalisa Spaniol, joined the company in 1996 and became instrumental in creating a Brazilian brand that is sexy yet comfortable, exclusive yet affordable and above all fashion forward. They are constantly researching their markets and interacting with their clients to offer some of the most sought-after fashions for any season.
How do they do it? Owning the tannery that produces the beautifully treated leather allows the company to operate under a vertical business plan that controls output and costs. Limited production of each item creates an air of exclusivity. Once the size or style is gone from the store, it’s gone for good. This also helps the company keep inventory costs down. This cost savings are passed onto the customer, with the price point for shoes starting in the mid-$200 range.
Despite their rapid rise in popularity, the company maintains a social and environmental conscious that has made it one of Brazil’s premiere manufacturing companies. Social programs that promote succeeding and staying in school have helped several children achieve their dream of attending college over the past ten years. The use of recycled water in the leather tannery and implementation of energy efficient machinery shows that the company takes it’s responsibility of preserving resources very seriously.
Take a tour of the Carmen Steffens website and add a little Brazilian flair to your winter wardrobe. Also check out the new line of men’s shoes now available online.