According to FRANKiE4 owner Caroline McCulloch, finding a niche in fashionable, functional footwear makes her feel exactly where she is supposed to be. Equipped with a degree in podiatry and physiotherapy, and a born love for fashion, the 38 year old first made the decision to design her own footwear label due to her patients’ despair at the limited number of stylish comfort shoes available. “It was difficult to recommend styles that I would not want to wear; the options on the market were ghastly,” Caroline explains.
Caroline has developed each style in the FRANKiE4 range with body mechanics in mind, aimed to alleviate and prevent plantar fasciitis, and heel, arch and forefoot pain, without compromising on style by hiding the support and cushioning. “FRANKiE4 provides a solution to an issue that has plagued women for decades, by offering stylish high heels that support and cushion the forefoot arch,” she states. “Plus, we donot outsource pre-existing soles or footbeds that are readily available on the market for footwear companies to utilise. By designing the soles, I am able to dictate how our footwear looks and functions, and I am able to make them with my materials of choice. Designing such important parts of the shoes is part of our brand ethos.”
While only two styles were released upon the label’s launch in 2010, Caroline has doubled her range every year, with more than 40 styles currently on the market. Shoppers can choose from a broad selection of chic sandals, stylish brogues, wardrobe staple boots and strappy heels, available in classic black and browns, and bold metallic colours. “I develop each range two seasons ahead of what is currently on the market, so my personal favourite at the time is always a style I’m working on and wear testing,” she says. “Our boots especially have been selling like hot cakes. We have sold about four times more this March compared to last March. It is hard to forecast that kind of growth.”
Caroline pays homage to her husband for FRANKiE4’s success, describing him as her soundboard, cheer squad, business partner and soul mate. She also insists her team of capable, competent staff allow her to juggle her business and two podiatry clinics with parenthood. “I quit the guilt, and I embrace all the help I need to stay calm and happy while I keep these balls in the air. Rose loves going to daycare five days per week, and Max has settled in to prep so well. My team is absolutely crucial in enabling me to balance being a mother with work.”
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