I don't know what it is about French Canadian women, but they often have an amazing energy.
Brigitte Foisy is a spark plug in the Canadian PR world with her various businesses, which have all grown and adapted over the years. (She claims that she started her second business when she was 15, mounting fashion shows in bars!). She has a staff, but refuses to say that they work for her, informing me instead, "We all work together." She is a team player and encourages them to go after their dreams, to the point where she admits to directing one of her best team members to cut back on their work with her, in order to set aside more time for other interests.
It's no wonder that this woman might come off as a little eccentric at first, and in my opinion she is! But that's a good thing. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that eccentric people make the best entrepreneurs and are often the most successful. So when Brigitte told me backstage between shows at the last Toronto Fashion Week that she and a business partner were launching a shoe company, I was intrigued.
I briefly met a man named Milton Fonseca who was to be her business partner. Milton comes from a family with a third generation shoe factory in Portugal, but the two met when he was teaching Krav Maga here in Canada and Brigitte was his student. They chatted one day after class about their love of shoes and wanting to start their own fashion lines. Within an hour, Milton was handed keys to Brigitte's office and they were off.
Three months later, the Milton Shoe Company press release landed in my inbox, announcing that their pre-launch collection of men's shoes was available for a limited time at a discounted rate, and with a favourable catch. Brigitte and Milton want everyone who purchases a pair of the limited 250 pair run, (available exclusively now through July 31 at www.milton.shoes) to walk a month in their Miltons before completing a survey. The survey is designed to provide information that the two founders will use to ensure their line is ready for its fall/winter 2017 commercial launch. It's like an extra layer of quality control that most companies cannot include.
I was impressed. They were actually doing it.
It was only days later that I received a personal message from Brigitte inquiring if I might like to take a look at the shoes and learn more about them. The woman herself (not a courier or even an assistant) brought the entire line to my office, leaving it with me for a few days to inspect. What, oh, what is a blogger to do with luxury sample shoes? Easy — photograph them, of course! So I took the entire line for a walk through downtown Toronto, snapping along the way.
The footwear is very high quality featuring Goodyear welting, allowing for the soles to be removed and replaced over the years, while also being incredibly weather resistant. The whole grain leathers are soft and supple. The interior lining is green, the colour of balance, harmony and (let's face it) money, which makes sense given that each style is inspired by an entrepreneur Milton and Brigitte admire.
The the inspiration behind the line is fun: an entrepreneur can walk a Milton mile in another entrepreneur's shoes and one day achieve similar greatness. I was thoroughly impressed. The only reason I gave the samples back and did not head for the hills with them, was that they were (surprise, surprise) sample size and this tall guy wears a 14.
Learn more about the #stmAPPROVED Milton Shoe Company on their website www.milton.shoes, and consider becoming a founding customer before July 31st, 2016.
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