Limited Time: Receive a TO THE MARKET ALLY Tote Bag with every purchase through October 14! (*some limits apply) AND help change the balance of power in the workplace - 10% of sale and proceeds will go to Forte Foundation through October 14!
We all want comfy heels that also look super chic! We got to sit down with Samantha Dong. She is the Founder and CEO of Ally Shoes, an innovative, fashion brand designed for women by women. We were thrilled to learn more about her journey! And collaborate on a good for the globe give back!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START ALLY SHOES?
A former management consultant, I always wore heels to work. Then I hurt my feet hiking and couldn’t wear heels without pain. That’s when it clicked - heels shouldn’t hurt. I made it my mission to find the best in the business to create pain-free heels for women. ALLY Shoes’ founding leadership team includes Podiatric Surgeon, Dr. Roxann Clarke, and acclaimed shoe designer, Sarah Jaramillo. Our diverse backgrounds and varying professional experiences inspired the overall concept of our unique pain-free heels and shoe design. We each bring our expertise to the table and together we created a heel that can be a woman’s ally.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IN COMBINING COMFORT AND STYLE?
ALLY Shoes is an innovative fashion brand by women for all women. Our greatest challenge stemmed from doing something that has never been done before with heels. To make it work, we assembled a great team to fuse style and comfort. Together we scientifically re-engineered the 3-inch heel with a patent-pending design to support women. Every pair of heels is handcrafted with premium lambskin leather, and a special stretch lining to maximize flexibility. This material-use minimizes the need to “break-in” new shoes. The ergonomic insole features a three-point-support insole with a weight-balancing toe grip, elevated arch support, and deep heel cup. The special perk is that ALLY offers 18 different sizes and three widths bringing to give customers a custom fit.
HOW DO FUNCTIONAL AND FASHIONABLE SHOES IMPACT A PROFESSIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT?
It’s important to feel confident with your look and presence at work and in professional environments. For too long women have aimed to accomplish a chic and stylish look at the expense of comfort, overall foot health, and happiness. ALLY aims to eliminate this compromise so you can focus on work. You should be able to have it all when it comes to your shoes. You can have a classic, workwear look and still walk around and get work done without pain.
Our online boutique finds your perfect fit and we solve women’s literal pain point. More than 70% of women suffer from heel pain and 42% of heels are worn one time or less. We’re more than great shoes, we’re mission-driven and committed to empowering women through fashion and innovation. When you think about impact think about some of your life highlights - from graduation to your first job, to your wedding - chances are you are wearing heels during these milestones. It’s our mission to make those major moments stylish and pain-free.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY/BEST PART OF CREATING ALLY SHOES?
Our customer reactions and reviews are without a doubt the best part of my job. Seeing women step into our heels and to watch their faces light up every day is so rewarding. I love to see their reactions when they realize how comfortable the shoes really are. I also think our collection with five shades of nude has created so many memorable moments. Women who have long struggled to find their shade of nude find their match with us and feel seen. That’s what this is all about - enhancing lives through our brand. One of our customers Rachana is a boss in every sense of the word and I will never forget her face when she tried on our nude collection. She rejoiced that she never found a shoe that matched her skin tone, until now. It was such an emotional moment for both of us and one that I will never forget.
IF YOU COULD OFFER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO WOMEN STRUGGLING TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
You have to find your own leadership style and your authentic voice. I worked in male-dominated environments for most of my career and I often felt the pressure to ‘act like a man’ or ‘be one of the guys’ to advance my career and build camaraderie. I never caved to that unspoken pressure - I went to work every day being my true self and it makes a difference. Trying to be like someone else is exhausting and you have your actual job to do. When it comes to expressing yourself at work you have to be true to who you are. I love wearing heels - they make me feel polished in any outfit and that gives me my confidence boost at work. Find out what gives you a confidence boost and embrace it.
This Women’s History Month, we’re proud to spotlight the talented female artists who helped bring to life our recent capsule collection, which is available now at Kohl’s.