Sherene Headley, Founder of MOKKAH

A luxurious women’s footwear brand catering to fashion-conscious women who wear extended sizes (UK 8-12)

I always loved shoes as a child but as my feet got bigger, I struggled to express myself freely through fashion. I left school a UK-sized 10 – experiencing a whirlwind of emotions… I felt embarrassed. Shoes can make or break an outfit, so special occasions filled me with dread. I had to buy shoes from America and spent a fortune on custom fees.

I had the idea to create my own larger-sized footwear brand for women at Sixth Form, but I told no-one. I was convinced it was too late… I hadn’t even studied Textiles! Instead, I pursued what I felt I was good at and did a degree in English Language & Literature.

Working in retail initially, I treated my friends to the shoes I secretly wished I could wear; then I moved into the social housing sector. I wanted to get involved and help people living on estates similar to the ones I’d grown up on.

Time passed and I asked myself a big question: ‘What could I do for the rest of my life that would make me happy?’ I considered teaching, but I realised my true passion was the shoe business. To broaden my knowledge, I networked; read books about fashion start-ups; went to evening seminars; and got a mentor.

My very first shoes were designed to fill the gap on the High Street for larger footwear that offers style, fit and quality; however, I soon realised that ordering at that level of volume would be challenging without investment. Rather than compromising on quality, I had my initial designs remoulded to fit the affordable luxury market. The feedback has been amazing!

As a perfectionist, I was afraid to start, but it’s 2020 and I’ve decided to abandon unhelpful mindsets that’ve held me back. I’ve pinpointed a manufacturer in Portugal and I’m in talks with various influencers to build my brand. I’m still working full time for now but, excitingly, I’ll have actual shoe samples in my hands very soon!

I created MOKKAH so that women like me can find their feet with fashion. For the first time ever, I can confidently tell people my shoe size without any feeling of shame.