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 in that moment, it left just as quick.
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 department looking at the new styles and giving the customers advice on which shoes best complimented their outfit or the occasion they were shopping for. I got to a point where I could actually look at a customers foot and know what size they wore.
Living vicariously through friends I started buying them shoes for their birthdays, which they loved!
Remember when I said the idea left? It left all the way until 2016. I had gone to university and kept working and started pursuing a career I thought I wanted but in 2016 I forced myself to really think about what I wanted to do.
I started to look 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. I then started designing my first collection and was ready to start the sample process.
Originally, I wanted to manufacturer in England because of the excellent reputation and I also 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 womens shoes so I then set my sights on Europe.
Between October and November 2019 I visited my first two factories, one in Porto, Portugal and the other in Barcelona, Spain.
I had chosen the factory to move forward with and in February we began the sampling process.
Soon after, COVID-19 hit the UK and the rest of the world 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 being shut 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 I'd started in May, to kickstart MOKKAH.
I had to find a new manufacturer as soon as possible as through the crowdfund I'd started receiving pre-orders. 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 during the crowdfund - 'Rosie', 'Nicole' and 'Sabrina' I named the designs after some of the women who pre-ordered.
Some months later we introduced another colourway for the 'Rosie' due to popular demand for the style.