Introduce yourself and profession to our readers:
I’m Ebony Webster, and I am the creator and designer of the Ebony Monique shoe collection. I named my collection Ebony Monique as a way to pay homage to my mother, who has always believed in me and motivated me to follow my dreams. Anytime I was caught wearing her shoes or any of her accessories, she would affectionately scold me while saying my entire name. It was the only time she used my whole name. She is the major reason I am who I am today.
I hold many titles, educational achievements, and accolades. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications, a master’s degree in communications management and I am currently working toward my PhD in leadership and management with a focus on organizational change. By trade, I am journalist. Like shoes, I love to craft and design words. My collection, the Ebony Monique Collection, features affordable luxury styles that are all hand-made and designed specifically for the distinguished or the stylish man or woman who appreciate quality footwear. It’s my desire to combine classic designs with a trendy and edgy approach. I have designed my shoe collection all while being a loving wife to my husband and proud and energetic mother of three, a toddler and twin infants.
What inspired you to pursue this area of interest?
I grew up like most little girls, playing in my mother’s closet. My love for shoes can be traced back to when I was two-years-old while most toddlers are busy getting into everything, I was busy playing with my mother’s shoes, trying them on, falling in them and modeling them for anyone who would give me their attention.
My love for shoes started me on a long journey to find stylish and affordable shoes. Each time a lovely pair of shoes caught my eye, I did what most shoe-crazed women do – Buy them! At one time, this led to me changing a spare bedroom into a shoe closet. I truly respect great shoe designers, but I have often wanted a shoe to have that special something to make it truly perfect.
Determined to locate that perfect shoe, I launched a shoe boutique, Monique’s Shoe Studio, in 2013. I never found that perfect shoe. Soon, I decided to fashion my own shoe line and bring my vision to life. I started describing my ideal shoe in detail to sketch artists and began working with manufacturers to fabricate affordable and quality shoes.
My obsession for shoes has helped me create shoes with personality that all women and men will love. My journey to becoming a shoe designer has truly been a labor of love.
What advice would you share with those interested in a similar pursuit?
Do it. Don’t be scared. Fear is inevitable. But, push through it. The best thing to do is to create and adhere to a business plan. Give yourself personal development plans and once a quarter measure your success. Did you reach your short term goals? Are you able to move on to your next goal or do you need more time to accomplish Goal A? Also, set up a budget. What do you want to invest and how much can you invest? This is something you should talk to a financial expert about; however, remember this: Money is currency. A current is a continuous, directed movement. If you believe and have faith in your brand the money will come right back.
Discuss a professional challenge and how you overcame it:
What if someone doesn’t like my shoes? What if no one buys my shoes? This is the common fear every entrepreneur has faced and will face. The saying is, entrepreneurs are the only people who will quit a 40 hour a week job to work 80 hours. It’s very true. You have to grind a bit more because you want to be successful. You also want to be financially stable. So, there are a lot of sleepless nights. It’s still worth it. I overcome this fear by continuing to have faith that this is my purpose! Prayer helps keep me sane and underwhelmed.
What is next for your brand/business in 2017?
The Ebony Monique Collection is launching in the #1 destination in the U.S., Charleston, S.C. next month. It’s a no-brainer for me to launch my exclusive footwear collection for women and men in the Lowcountry. As Charleston has its artistic charm drenched in cultural gems; creatives are drawn to the ease of discovery and release of their most inner creative selves. The Ebony Monique Collection® was birthed out of the same deep passion for discovery in bringing its creators' craft to life by delivering on style, class, and individuality for women and men.
At the launch, invited guests will enjoy a private shopping experience, engulfed by the creative nuances of fine mediums and designs from students of the Art Institute of Charleston. While indulging in decadent delights and sipping on refreshing easy reds and tantalizing whites, they will witness the handmade and specifically designed craftsmanship for the everyday woman or man who appreciates quality footwear.
How can readers connect with you online and through social media?
FB: Monique’s Shoe Studi