We’re always getting new brands on Fashion Bomb Daily Shop! Today, we’d like to introduce you to our latest addition: Cult of Coquette! Founded by Bebe Mehr, Cult of Coquette is a brand dedicated to supplying Bombshells like you with luxury vegan shoes. As Bebe describes it, this celebrity-approved shoe brand was “created to fill the immense void in the market for quality, stylish footwear that is both cruelty-free and ethically made.“
Get to know more about Bebe and Cult of Coquette in our exclusive interview as she details goals for the brand, marketing and business tips, and much more:
She says, “I was born in Los Angeles, but when I was young we moved to Arizona, I was basically raised there and returned to L.A. in 2013. I went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and studied Fashion Merchandising, but left early to open my first boutique.“
She continues, “I always had an interest in fashion, for as long as I can remember. I grew up on ’90s fashion and supermodels. Also, Lil’ Kim was a huge icon for me growing up. Colorful, sexy, maximalist fashion, lots of patterns, embellishments. I also was surrounded by a lot of glamorous women. My mom, who is an artist, was always creative with her fashion, my grandmother was very chic and so were all my mom’s friends. I’ve named a pair of shoes after everyone that inspired me with their style and presence.“
She explains, “I always knew I wanted to be a part of the fashion industry in some way, but a little detached. I just felt the industry wasn’t inclusive enough, so I knew I had to do it on my own terms and create a space that celebrated people and things that the fashion industry may not be as inclined to celebrate. Owning my own business and being an entrepreneur is something my dad really believed in and instilled in me, so I always knew I would have my own fashion based company, eventually.“
On how she grew her business, she tells us, “I initially started in 2014, the way a lot of businesses start, because I had a personal need that wasn’t being fulfilled. Specifically, wanting a pair of Louboutin pumps but not wanting to buy real leather shoes (I didn’t eat meat and so buying fashion that wasn’t cruelty-free felt hypocritical). After searching for years, I finally decided I would just do it myself. I had a background running a boutique for many years and an online store, so it was a natural progression to start my own line.“
She proceeds, “I knew there had to be other conscious women like myself who didn’t want to sacrifice style or quality in order to stay committed to their ethics. The modern woman is multifaceted, she doesn’t want to choose between looking good and feeling good. I wanted to make sure I created a brand that was built on that. The brand grew as the interest in ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’ products in general grew. Cosmetics and skincare really helped bring attention to that. So in 2018, we re-launched and things really moved quickly from there. I always say they are ‘Heels with a Soul’. It’s a cute play on words, but it really represents the consciousness of our company and the customers who support and believe in us.“
On the importance of marketing and how she makes use of it, she points out, “I think marketing is extremely important, but it has to be the right thing. Facebook marketing never worked for us to get new customers, for others it’s wildly successful. For us, Instagram has been an amazing way to connect with existing customers and engage with them personally. Also, using Instagram promotions for brand awareness. Email marketing has been really important and successful. We are planning to do more of a push with influencer marketing as well, but I have found it’s critical to find influencers that are interested in building a genuine relationship with us and not to just fulfill their own needs. It’s a reciprocal relationship that we always hope will be long term, so we grow together. We’re not interested in the influencers who just send a dm that says ‘Would love to collab’. If you don’t follow our page, know nothing about the brand, that’s an obvious sign that you aren’t interested in cultivating a real relationship and so I know a collab won’t be successful.“
She details the biggest lesson she’s learned from owning her own business, “The biggest one is to never give up. You really do learn from all your failures. I always quote a Jay-Z line from an interview he did about his life and career, he said something like ‘What do you learn from your successes? You learn everything from your failures.’ Nothing could be more true. The successes are fun and satisfying, but it’s fleeting. You’re quickly off to the next goal, but those failures stick with you, you have to learn from them, and every loss gets you closer to your next win.“
On the goals for Cult of Coquette, she says, “I have a lot of different types of goals. Getting the shoes on certain celebs… Beyonce tops that list. I think she probably does for most brands, but more than just wearing them I hope she somehow identifies that the shoes are vegan. She has so much influence and she could shine a spotlight on vegan fashion and make people aware there are options. Snoh Aalegra is another, just because I personally adore everything about her.And then Kylie Jenner or someone in that younger demographic with a lot of influence would be amazing, just to bring the awareness about vegan fashion to that age group. Young people now are so conscious about how everything they do affects society, and I think that’s really inspiring. Generally, I would like to grow the business to a certain level that isn’t too big where I have to give up control, but so that I also have freedom to live my life on my own terms. I used to be hyper ambitious and want to build an empire, I think after having several successful businesses I realize that keeping your business manageable without a huge staff, but still having creative control and freedom, is the perfect combination.“
Bebe recounts her first celebrity placement and how it changed her business, “The first was Miley Cyrus, her team came to us in 2018 before we even had the re-launched collection in stock and asked us to custom make some shoes for her. When they asked for white satin, I was hoping they might be for a surprise wedding, but I wasn’t sure. We didn’t find out they were until we saw our name in the press. It was really exciting. From there a lot of stylists for vegan and non-vegan celebs came calling. We ended up doing Leona Lewis’ bridal shoes as well, which inspired our new bridal collection that will be released in the next couple weeks.“
She adds, “Since then we’ve had Halsey, Ashanti, Eve, Jessie J., Mena Suvari, Naturi Naughton, Serayah, Tinashe, Ella Mai, Ashley Graham, Vashtie, Whitney Cummings, Leslie Jones and more. The stylists we work with are really amazing, and I actually get more excited connecting with stylists, because I have admired a lot of them for years. It was a career I always wanted to go into, so I know them all and respect all the work they do and how insanely talented they are.“
Mehr closes with the importance of transparency especially when it comes to Cult of Coquette, “I think it’s really important for people to know who is behind the brand they are supporting. Where is your money going? With Instagram, people build genuine relationships and connections with the brand. It’s almost a living, breathing thing.So, I would like people who are unfamiliar with Cult of Coquette to know the company and the factory are woman owned. I am a daughter of immigrants who worked hard and built their own businesses.“
She continues, “And most importantly, that my moral compass is what drives the direction of the company. “Cruelty-Free” isn’t a buzz word for us. We’re not what I call “unintentionally vegan” where companies use the term but they’re only vegan because they want to use cheaper materials. I’ve seen other companies discover us and suddenly change their instagram bio to highlight that they are also vegan and cruelty-free just to join the bandwagon. I am genuinely committed to the ethical treatment of animals and people, and I believe it can be done without sacrificing design and style.“
Discover more from Cult of Coquette on the Fashion Bomb Daily Shop here!
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