If you haven’t heard of Carmen Steffens before that’s fine. I didn’t know about it either until this week. Perth’s well known fashion figure Sylvia Giacci contacted me about a launch of a new collection by Carmen Steffens I was a little perplexed as to what it was about. As it is the case with all my outings I rarely do any research beforehand. I have no inclination to form any kind of judgement before I see and feel things. It was certainly a good thing in this instance. If I actually googled the brand and read a bit about it I wouldn’t have gone to see the store or spoken with the owner – Carmen Steffens Asia Pacific distributor, Anna.
Carmen Steffens, with its polished branding, presents European style with a bit of ‘authority’ so it felt like I had to go and find out about it. Sexy and bold heels and bags with chunky hardware are the norm at Steffens although they do carry flats and more modest looking bags and clutches. They are all manufactured in Brazil – home of quality leather goods. It’s quite refreshing to know that they are not made in China (for all we know, some elements could have well been imported from China but I don’t wanna go into that).
Anna’s story is quite interesting. She used to be in fashion retail a bit in Brazil but her main business with her husband was in farming and import/export of natural resources. Her main role has been accounting until they decided to pack up and change their life around by moving to Australia. Of all places they chose to come to Perth to realise her dream of owning her own Carmen Steffens store. Apparently, it’s everywhere in Brazil so she decided that they would have to move to anther country. Her friend recommended Perth as a safe and liveable city (yes it is true to a certain extent I must admit). It took Anna and her husband a year to do a research and open their first store in Perth.
Her story is that she used to go out to places wearing Carmen Steffens (probably super sexy heels) and people used to come up to her to find out where they could buy her shoes. That was a big confidence boost in opening their store. In a way, it makes sense. You can pay some serious amount of money for a nice pair of heels specially if they are from somewhere in Europe. Although I can’t say Carmen Steffens as a budget brand it’s certainly nothing like what you’d pay for any of famous European labels. What you still get is great quality. Also, Anna is big on customer service. She is certainly there to make the shopping experience something more than just buying a pair of shoes. I asked her if she’d be opening another store in Perth. Probably not anytime soon, she answers. She and her husband basically represent the label in Australia and beyond so they are jetting around to see if they could have franchisees in Asia. Looking at what’s in store I think Asian market will be good for them too. I’m in ‘wearing flats’ phase at the moment so none of those spunky heels tickled my fancy but I’m sure a lot of the readers will be drooling while looking at these pictures.
Recent earthquakes in South America caused a bit of an issue with getting Fall and Winter collection to Australia so the official launch with a parade and a bigger launch party will be happening in May. I’ll be there. Will you join me too?
Cottesloe Central Shopping Centre
Shop 1B, 460 Stirling Highway, Cottesloe.