MOKKAH launched during the pandemic however the vision and planning for the brand had been in motion for years.
MOKKAH was created by myself, Sherene Headley. To read my Founder story, please click here.
The idea first came in 2009 when I was in college. I had chosen courses to study for A Level and I remember walking past the art block and thinking how amazing it would be to have my own shoe brand. I had just started my courses (Media, Drama and English) and thought it was too late because I hadn't chosen Art, Textiles or even, Business Studies. As quick as the idea came to me, it left just as quickly.
I got my first part-time job working in retail and my love for shoes continued.
I worked in a clothing store in Westfield, London and the shoe department was ran by a different company. I was always in the shoe section, looking at the new styles and giving customers advice on which shoes best complimented their outfit or the occasion they were shopping for. I actually got to a point where I could look at a persons foot and know what size they wore!
Remember when I said the idea left? It left all the way until 2016. I was working whilst studying at university, pursuing a career I thought I wanted but in 2016 I forced myself to really think about what I wanted to do. It was starting my own shoe brand.
I looked at ways to educate myself on business and fashion, outside of going back to school and studying for a qualification. I attended seminars, workshops, talks, read books and hired mentors. It took some but I started to design my first collection and was ready to start the sample process.
Originally, I wanted to manufacturer in England - the excellent reputation and I loved the idea of being able to visit the factory whenever I wanted. Unfortunately, I found there were no more factories in England which made womens6 shoes so I then set my sights on Europe.
Between October and November 2019 I visited my first two factories; in Porto, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain.
I had chosen the factory to move forward with and in February, submitted my order to the factory.
Soon after, COVID-19 hit the UK and Europe and it's fair to say that no one knew what was in store.
In June, I was told that the factory in Portugal was shutting down - none of the samples had been started and none of the funds I'd paid would be returned. This was in the middle of the Crowdfund campaign, to kickstart MOKKAH.
I had to find a new manufacturer as soon as possible because I'd started receiving Pre-order, through my crowdfund. The Spanish factory wasn't in operation so I made some connections and by the end of the Crowdfund, was set to begin manufacturing in China, via a UK agent.
The Chinese manufacturer made two of the three designs but due to the experience with the inital manufacturer, I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket.
We sampled and fit tested.
Then moved onto production.
I was introduced to a factory in Turkey, who were able to manufacture the loafers. We had to alter the design very slightly but the end result surpassed all expectations.
We launched the website on March 1st 2021, with the three designs which proved to be the most popular - 'Rosie', 'Nicole' and 'Sabrina', named after some of the women who pre-ordered.
Some months later we introduced another colourway for 'Rosie' due to popular demand.