“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world” – Marilyn Monroe
No one would have imagined that a 28 years old male can design and create something so convenient and comfortable for stilettos crazy women all over the world. Anthony Ciccarelli did just that. This young entrepreneur founded High Pheels (pronounced peels) that design, manufacture and sell interchangeable skins for heels. So instead of buying loads of high heels, one can just buy a variety of colorful solid and printed skins and put it on according to their mood and occasion. Anthony had no background of fashion or design; he turned a simple idea to a growing and buzzing fashion business. Creative, charming and smart, Anthony plans to create more innovative fashion solutions for women.
Your Fashion Story talks to Anthony Ciccarelli about his creative idea and his journey with High Pheels.
YFS: What is High Pheels and what is its main product?
Anthony: High Pheels are interchangeable skins for heels, they are designed to work with an existing pair of pumps and change the look while increasing their comfort. The moisture absorbent lining protects the Achilles from rubbing and blisters forming in the toes, while being entirely machine washable. High Pheels work with existing heels but work best with our heels, which have foam padding and gel insole built in. Our products are built with comfort in mind and are the ultimate combination of fashion and comfort for any occasion.
YFS: Tell us something about you and your background.
Anthony: I’m from Dallas/Fort Worth Area, US. I’m having a Bachelor’s in Business Management from TAMUCC, but no background in the fashion or design industry. I taught myself everything, from creating my patterns, hand sewing my prototypes, and modifying my designs through the feedback of the high heel experts, mainly women.
Anthony: On Leap Day 2012, a friend flew down and packed an entire suitcase full of high heel shoes. I thought “that’s insane, why not have one heel and simply change out the skins.” That is when my light bulb went off and I created my first prototype from a tube sock, hair band, and some crude stitching. What really got me was during lunch the next day when I showed my father what I created. When the eyes of a military Vietnam veteran’s eyes lit up, I knew I had something.
YFS: Who else is there in founding team apart from you?
Anthony: I am a one man army, wearing the thousand hats of being an entrepreneur. At times, I wished that I wore heels and knew how it felt so I could improve my designs, but I prefer to leave that aspect to the experts.
YFS: How much time did it take in creating the whole process right from getting idea to launching the product in the market?
Anthony: It took me just about 2 years to perfect the product, packaging, and manufacturing, going through hundreds of patterns and prototypes. I think it would have been quicker if I had any previous experience in any aspect of what it took to bring an idea to market or even wore heels.
Anthony: From learning everything about the industry, manufacturing, and designing, along with knowing how to modify my designs to perfect my product. Thank you to all my testers and their feedback.
YFS: What has been your biggest achievement till date?
Anthony: Successfully took an idea and brought it to market, where I should get my patent issued later this year or early next year.
YFS: What is that one marketing strategy that you trust at all times?
Anthony: Listen to your consumers, they will tell you what they want.
Anthony: US, England, and New Zealand. We are also in talks with retailers in Canada, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
YFS: On basis of your experience, would you like to share few inspiring words for our readers?
Anthony: I encourage people to not create barriers for themselves before attempting anything, look at me, not a fashionable person, never wore heels, and knew nothing about the industry. Now you can say I am an expert.
Story Credit – Ankita Bhalani