A Family Business: Louise’s Story
In the beginning
Early on I realized I’d found the dream husband... He loved shoes as much as I did! I met Shane in Palmerston North in the 80’s, where he had a reputation as a driven and ambitious young man. It helped that he was very tall and handsome - pretty key requirements in my book. Our relationship blossomed quickly and before we knew it our first son Oscar was on the way.
The tough stuff
While a love of shoes held us together, it wasn’t always glamorous or easy. In the early days, Shane was out of the country 3 to 4 months of the year. I was in Auckland, away from my family, with 3 small children and not a lot of support. I remember vividly a time when Isabella woke up in the night with a tooth ache and I had to take all 3 sleepy kids to the A&E to wait for hours to see a dentist. Shane meanwhile had been dining at an ancient castle above Florence with our Italian agent!
I always felt a strong connection to the business, even while I was at home with our family. I was never one to hold back on giving my opinion on product, so when the time was right I started to work part time in buying and product development.
A mother’s dilemma
As a young mother, there was always a sense of guilt as we headed off overseas on another buying trip, but I was lucky to be able to take time away from the office for school activities when I was in the country. We have a huge sense of admiration and appreciation for the young mothers who work for us and I know how hard it is to do both jobs well; the emotional connection you have to your children is always there.
Creating collections, inspiration and family
Our buying team of 2 is now a buying and design team of 6 talented individuals, with support from planners and merchandisers. I love my role, with all the deadlines and challenges it entails. I love the travel and constant source of inspiration that fashion provides, and the strong sense of family that exists within our office. It’s exciting to see young talent come into the business, to continue learning and growing our leadership skills, and that sense of achievement when we get it right.
The next generation
I love having our kids involved. Oscar is back in New Zealand and leads our Deuce brand. Bella is in New York attending Parsons College of Design, where she’s also found the time to create the Isabella New York range which debuted this year. Even William our youngest, training to be a graphic designer, helps out during holidays.
Written by Louise Anselmi