We had the good fortune of connecting with Sofi Newmyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sofi Newmyer, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I really wanted to make shoes that my girlfriends and I would want to wear. Modern women who want to look chic and feel good all day long while working from home (as many of us are these days), to sitting in the boardrooms we’ll all hopefully be in again soon, to lugging through traffic on the 405, to picking up kids from school, etc . We’re busy working women who should be able to check everything off our to-do list without punishing our feet. My goal with Ma’am Shoes has always been with the customer in mind. To make shoes for women who are looking to invest in high-quality products that are meant to be lived in and loved for seasons and years to come. Before launching, we spent a long time crafting our shoes through carefully selected materials, thoughtful silhouettes and attention to detail. We analyzed and tested every part of the shoe to create something durable, comfortable and stylish so our customers can ‘walk the walk’ year after year.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve worked in the footwear industry for a long time. And still at the end of the day, I couldn’t find comfortable and cute shoes that I could wear from day to night – elevated, everyday shoes. I knew I couldn’t be alone and other women had to be experiencing blisters and bruised arches just like me. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and began to explore local factories to see if it’s possible to sustainably make shoes I actually wanted to wear in LA. I didn’t have a design or production background, which I think oddly worked out in my favor, since I was able to ask a lot of questions without a preconceived idea of what a shoe factory should look like. I used this opportunity to learn how to sustainably produce shoes from the lens of a customer rather than a designer. After the first decade of my career working at TOMS, it was especially important to me to create a company that was a force for good and created positive change that would resonate with our target audience. So every season at Ma’am, we’ve set out to create a special collaboration shoe that contributes to a progressive cause committed to the professional, social and civic advancement of women. This fall, we worked with I Am A Voter to create a limited-edition collection that supported voter engagement and turnout during the historic 2020 election. For spring/summer 2021, we partnered with activist hub, The Outrage to create a limited-edition Mother’s Day gift collection that supports the United State of Women and their fight for full gender equity, especially for mothers, during the pandemic and beyond.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Highly Likely – Start your weekend with a fun outdoor brunch. The food is fresh, the portions are huge and you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Personally I dream about their breakfast sandwich. C+S Nursery – I’ve become a gardening maniac over the last few years and really relied on it during the pandemic to stay sane while at home. C+S is a huge outdoor wholesale nursery on Hauser with a spectacular collection of native plants and their staff is really helpful. My puppy and I could spend hours there roaming the aisles of fruit trees and succulents, admiring the plants and getting our steps in. Beverly Hills Farmers Market – I love going on Sunday mornings with my husband and getting as many fresh vegetables as we can find. When we get home, we chop everything up, throw it all together in a big pot and let it simmer for the day. My house smells great and we have a healthy and hearty soup to nosh on for the rest of the week. Happy Isle – I can’t wait for the day when we have an excuse to get dressed up again. My first stop for a great party dress is Happy Isle, an appointment-only vintage salon in LA with gorgeous pieces that are the greatest treasures in my closet and also have modern wearability. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many Ma’ams throughout history, fiction and my personal life who deserve a lot of recognition. Of course, I must shout out my mother and grandmothers who are strong, fiery and resilient matriarchs in my family. For Ma’am, at the core of this brand we always want to be celebrating women and their contributions to shaping the world we live in. We’ve done this by naming our shoe styles after great Ma’ams including Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, activist Marsha P. Johnson, The West Wing’s fictional White House Press Secretary C.J. Craig and voting rights reformer Stacy Abrams.