That is one of the reasons she started her self-named shoe collection five years ago with another company that went bankrupt last year. She subsequently took full control of her shoe brand and recently relaunched it.
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“A lot of my shoes actually have quite a sense of humor. If you were a person who would only wear neutrals or black, you could accentuate or put an exclamation mark [on your outfit] with these shoes,” the musical artist explained. “I like to have fun. I like to keep it really joyful, positive and have a sense of humor about everything because life can get interesting. You have to laugh or you will cry.”
Perry’s was sharing her shoe experience on Tuesday with a crowd of about 200 people who came to hear her speak at the semiannual Project trade show held Aug. 7 to 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center where her Katy Perry Collections had a large booth. She was the event’s keynote speaker and was interviewed on stage by Booth Moore, the West Coast executive editor for WWD.
In 2017, Perry partnered with Global Brands Group to start the footwear label Katy Perry Collections. But last summer, the Hong Kong-based holding company that was the co-owner and manufacturer of the singer’s shoe line declared bankruptcy, leaving Perry high and dry. “It was like we got a call and had a week to buy the brand,” Perry said.
The celebrity, who is engaged to actor Orlando Bloom, looked at the footwear team already in place, examined the infrastructure that had been established and went forward. “I brought in about four or five people from the original team, bought the back stock and had some sales. Then we started on the spring 2022 collection,” she said.
Perry works with a designer, and they come up with different themes. “My whole life has been a theme. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween because my parents are very, very conservative. So themes have been very important to me,” she said. “There are always three themes for the collection, and then there are thoughts that bubble out of those themes. It’s just like a word association game.”
Courtesy of Christine Hahn
For the spring collection, some of the themes centered around florals and the beach, which led to an array of styles encompassing an artistic, feminine vibe. One unique style is a seashell-shaped kitten heel. There also are sneakers, sandals, ballet-style flats, wedged heels, high heels with gingham fabric and chunky-heeled dress sandals with bows.
Perry and her team have tried to keep retail price points at a reasonable $39 to $129. The collection is sold through the company’s online site as well as through Zappos, Amazon, other online sites and at retailers such as Nordstrom.
Running her own shoe company has been a learning experience for Perry, who now gets to look at all the receipts and has learned to be familiar with profit and loss statements. “I think one of the biggest challenges has been manufacturing overseas,” she said. “There are [problems with] supply chain, freight, trucking, all of it. Everyone has had conversations about it, and I am sitting in the same position. It’s about looking ahead and managing these problems.”
Fashion has always been an integral part of Perry’s life. As a girl growing up in Santa Barbara, Calif., her parents, who were conservative Pentecostal pastors, had limited resources. Her family sometimes used food stamps or received food from local food banks to eat. She often shopped at thrift stores, using money she earned by singing at the local farmer’s market, maybe earning $20 and two avocados.
“I always knew that fashion was going to be an extension of myself,” Perry said. “I started dressing like a pin-up girl when I was 13, which was interesting. That’s when my style started cultivating. I think I stood out in a unique way because I was wearing secondhand clothing. It wasn’t the latest trends but stuff from the ’40s, ’50s and the ’60s. I actually had one pair of shoes that started my love of shoes. They were flats in the shape of a Dalmatian dog. They had ears that bent, whiskers and a tongue that came out in a little point. I would wear them everywhere.”