eloS Shoes is an unusual upscale shoe boutique located on Adams Avenue in the increasingly artistic Normal Heights district of San Diego, California. It’s a rare, thriving independent shoe boutique.
FitApproved.com – Thanks for talking with us, Lisa. You opened eloS Shoes in an interesting economic time – what inspired you to do it at that moment?
Lisa Greshko: It was simply time for me to quit dreaming about it and do it, regardless of the current economic situation.
However, I have heard it said many times that starting a new business in challenging times can be a good thing. Start up costs can be lower, and if you do well, you will be set to really soar as the economy recovers. I think it will. Plus consumers are really starting to take a closer look at where they spend their money, caring about who and what that money benefits. Small businesses are reaping the rewards of that, by keeping more funds in the local communities that they
FitApproved.com – Why did you choose the location on Adams Avenue in San Diego?
LG: I have always loved Normal Heights! It reminds me of Noe Valley in San Francisco, when I initially moved there in 1982. The eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars make for a fun main avenue experience, and the residents really love where they live. It all makes for a rich community vibe. Also, the local business community was very welcoming to us.
FitApproved.com – What’s the meaning behind the name?
LG: It’s a simple little play on words. eloS is Sole spelled backward, which I why I chose to use a lower case e and upper case S.
FitApproved.com – Why shoes? How did you get started on the idea of opening a fashion boutique dedicated to shoes?
LG: I’ve been in footwear since 1989! I started off working for Nana in San Francisco, who was the first U.S. distributor of Dr. Martens. When I moved to San Diego in 1991, I met an Englishman who was opening a shoe shop in Hillcrest. I worked for him from 1992-2011, in all aspects of footwear. I started out helping him buy products for the shop, then managing, and designing. Eventually we started a full-fledged footwear international brand called T.U.K. and for the last 5 years I was exclusively doing design for that brand, working with the factories, and doing some private label design work for our larger customers. Over the years I’ve been a Hair Stylist, Barista, Bartender, Cocktail Waitress, Cosmetics Salesperson, and a Pizza Maker. I’ve reinvented myself before and someday might again, but for now I’m the Shoe Lady.
FitApproved.com – What are your bestselling items?
LG: Handcrafted Footwear from Mexico (BedStu) and Spain (Avarcas Pons). The sandals from Avarcas Pons are made on the island of Menorca and the company is very important to the island, with a big economic impact for the artisans.
FitApproved.com – Who are your favorite designers?
LG: My all time favorite shoe designer is John Fluevog! Someday I hope to be able to carry his shoes at the shop, but right now I am concerned that the price point is too high. They are beautiful quality and full of personality.
FitApproved.com – What items you are proudest to carry?
LG: BedStu Footwear and Accessories. The husband and wife who own this company are so passionate about shoes and it really shows in their product. I have known them for over 15 years and they are the nicest people. Their support of Stand Up 2 Cancer is admirable as is the quality and value that they offer in their products.
FitApproved.com - What are your ideas on what makes a perfect shoe?
LG:Comfort Value, and Personality! This is what I strive to find for eloS Shoes, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
FitApproved.com – You also dedicate part of the wall space to art. Tell me about that.
LG:We have a rotating art exhibit on the wall, and we feature a new artist or photographer every two months. Each exhibit opens with a reception for the artist, and this brings in a lot of people from the community.
FitApproved.com – What are your thoughts on coming trends in shoes and fashion?
LG: Anything not made in China. There is a big push for brands to branch out on their countries of manufacture, many people simply don’t want to support Chinese made products these days, and this is becoming more and more popular as time goes on.
There is a big push right now in Fashion for Made in the USA, but in footwear it’s very hard to find anything other than athletic and uniform for under $300.
FitApproved.com – What are the most surprising successful items at eloS?
LG: An English brand of Hemp and Organic Cotton bags that I carry has been surprisingly successful. They are environmentally friendly and the Hemp makes them very durable. I wasn’t too sure how they would do at first because they are a bit basic in
style, but their functionality and value has made them winners!
FitApproved.com – What’s your answer to “If you can buy only one new pair of shoes this season, it should be ________”?
LG: The perfect Ballet Flat, it has to be comfortable, have good support, and still look polished. So you can wear from day
FitApproved.com – What shoes are you wearing right now?
LG: BedStu Boots! I wear them almost everyday, they are so comfortable and full of personality.
FitApproved.com – What’s next for eloS Shoes? Expansion? Shoe events?
LG: I have been trying to find more brands not made in China. On the horizon: Ballet Flats Made in Italy, Boots Made in the USA and Spain, and more Handmade Jewelry from up and coming Artists.
FitApproved.com – What were your recent experiences at the February 2013 fashion trade shows?
LG: At the last show I was looking for brands not made in China, but didn’t find anything within my price point. In fact some of the companies that I visited and expected to find items from, told me they were moving production to China! This season I was pleasantly surprised to not hear this even once, in fact I was very successful in finding some exciting items that I will be bringing in this Spring and Fall. I did see some pretty crazy styles, including some that looked like
corkscrews made of rounded polished metal and foot shaped. I assume you slide your foot into them like you might a bracelet or bangle.
FitApproved.com – Anything else you’d like to talk about?
LG: I feel like I have rambled on quite a bit already!
FitApproved.com – Thanks,Lisa!