When Lidia Talavera got tired of not finding shoes of the small size she wears, she was struck by the idea of doing business with the creation and sale of footwear not only for those who have small feet like her, but also for people with large and wide feet like many. members of the LGBTQ community.
This is how in the midst of a pandemic, the footwear brand that bears its own name was born.
Lidia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but at the age of 12 she came with her family to Southern California; and she currently lives in the city of Chino Hills in San Bernardino County.
The fascination he has always felt for shoes is in his genes.
His own father Viviano Talavera – he says – has always worked in footwear and leather.
“He had a factory for leather products.”
And she was already a successful real estate agent in the field of shopping centers, when in 2017, during a trip to Guadalajara, she convinced her father to make her a pair of shoes, after not finding the American number 4 that fits.
At that moment, the topic of opening a shoe store focused on handmade, custom footwear, in all styles and modern, for those hard-to-find numbers, came to mind.
“I realized that not only small sizes were scarce but that most sizes are from 6 to 10, and for people from 11 and up, it is very difficult to find”.
She later discovered that the average size for people in the LGBTQ community is 12, and finding sneakers or boots in those sizes is almost an impossible task.
“They wear shoes that are too tight or too long.”
Lidia shared with her father her plans to start a custom-made shoe business.
“In 2018, we started looking for Mexican shoemakers in Guadalajara with whom we could work. Most told me no, that I was crazy. They wanted minimum orders of 5,000 units. Before returning, we arrived with a shoemaker who had a small factory, and he told me to talk about it; and finally he was the one who accepted our proposal”.
It took Lidia two and a half years to set up her business and overcome the many problems that came her way to create the innovative project.
“What we did was take the lasts of the men’s shoes and we made them slippers.
But overcoming all kinds of obstacles, they started in June 2020 with very little profit.
“Sales were very low, and we had to make adjustments to various things. Leather for men’s shoes is very good in Mexico, but for women’s shoes we had to go to Spain and Italy to buy it.”
However, little by little, the business took off; and each time, it gets better.
“The average number of shoes that they ask us for the most is 15 and a half; and they are requesting us up to number 18”.
Lidia says that 50% of her clients are from the LGBTQ community; and the other 50%, small-footed women.
“The footwear that I sell does not exist in the market. The only pairs are synthetic and they are not wide”.
He explains that the way his shoe store Lidia Talavera works is through orders to his page where customers can take the measurement of their foot, and choose between 50 colors.
“We send everything to Mexico. Between making and shipping, it takes an average of two weeks to reach the customer’s home.”
On average, he says, his sneakers cost $365, but he has boots as high as $480; and he says that he has a pair of glass slippers for $550.
“My business has a great future; and the LGBTQ community is very grateful that nobody offers them this type of footwear. They are my customers, but also people with wide feet who can’t find shoes anywhere.”
Lidia says that most people were surprised when she told them she was going to start a custom shoe business, because she hadn’t even studied design.
“It all came about because of my dad, and my love of sneakers. The idea came from one day to another.
Now – he says – he is going to Oaxaca because he wants to start looking for materials that he can incorporate into some designs.
And when making a recount, she confesses to feeling very proud of her achievements especially because she had a difficult adolescence.
“At the age of 14, I ran away from home. At the age of 15 I was homeless. I dropped out of school for a year and a half. My first child was born when I was 16 years old.”
When he realized that he was already responsible for someone else, he went back to school, and at the age of 31 he graduated with a degree in business and administration.
Today, she says, she is very happy to fight to grow her small company designing and selling comfortable and sexy shoes for numbers too small like hers and for the big feet of the LGBTQ community.