Whether we realize it or not, our culture, our background, our upbringing, our childhood, the way we have lived our life up until this point, influences how we make choices on a daily basis. Maybe we realize it–or not, maybe it is conscious–or not, but those things that we have experienced in our life, they impact the decisions that we make today, and tomorrow, and going forward. I love when I connect with a business that has used their culture, or their family, or something in their belief system, to influence how they run their business. I love hearing inspiration from stories of generations past, that have helped to influence decision making, or design, or branding, or intentionality, or even something just as simple as the name of a business. I love how those factors play into how a business moves forward. Today, my guest took her passion for art, and culture, and fashion, and a great pair of shoes, and she created something incredible. My guest this week is Bebe Mehr, the founder of Cult of Coquette, a vegan and cruelty-free ethical shoe brand that creates gorgeous, designer-like shoes for women. Bebe was so much fun to chat with and it really was just like sitting down and chatting with a best girlfriend about life, work, and so much more.
TWO PASSIONS, ONE PATH
Bebe’s father is an entrepreneur and her mother is an artist, so she has always had equal parts business and design in her. She always had a sense of fashion and dreamed of one day working for Versace when she was a kid. At the same time, Bebe also always had an interest in business–as a child she would make and sell things on the side of the street. She even had her own cash register! She always knew that she wanted to marry these two passions and go into a field related to both fashion and business. Eventually, she went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied fashion merchandising. She lasted two winters in New York before the cold weather steered her back to warmer parts of the country. This led her to opening a boutique in Arizona. She ran the boutique for 8 years, and then moved back to LA (where she was born) to start her line of vegan, cruelty-free footwear: Cult of Coquette.
OPERATING BY A MORAL COMPASS
Often, the definition of “ethical” can be very blurry. Vegan goods can be made of cruelty-free materials, while still being hard on the planet or people who made them. Bebe has been building her company by following her moral compass. She tries to do as much good as she can, but simultaneously recognizes that making these changes is a process. As a relatively new company, they are still learning and making improvements all of the time. A perfect example can be seen in their new factory, which in contrast to their first, is fully female-owned. Bebe also works to employ women whenever she can because she believes that women working together is important.
INCORPORATING CULTURE & FAMILY INTO BUSINESS
Bebe has always drawn from her Persian culture and what her family has taught her. Honesty and her strong moral compass are two things that she attributes to her father–a selfless man who always stops to help others. She also seeks to honor the women who have inspired her–family members, celebrities, and even historical figures–by naming her shoes after them. Bebe hopes this will lead her customers to look into these inspiring women’s legacies. The name of her business, Cult of Coquette, is tied to her passion for French culture, which is largely entwined with her own Persian culture. Coquette means a flirty, sexy woman–a strong woman–and this word choice is a testament to the strong women who have inspired Bebe along the way.
About Bebe Mehr, Founder of Cult of Coquette:
By combining designs that are fashion forward with materials that are cruelty free, Cult of Coquette is filling the void in a market that provides few options for the growing number of women who are both socially conscious and stylish.
Started in late 2013 by Bebe Mehr, Cult of Coquette was born out her frustrations in finding the perfect Louboutin style pumps in animal friendly materials. She found that either the design was wrong or the quality was poor, or what she calls “unintentionally vegan”.
Having just launched the second collection in August, Cult of Coquette has built a strong “cult” following through social media and among vegan celebs. The third collection is already in the early stages of design, and will be launched before the end of the year!
Use the code “PURPOSE” for 20% off at http://www.cultofcoquette.com/!
CONNECT WITH BEBE MEHR