Katie Cary is known for her incredible collections of vibrant women’s shoes. Her meticulous eye for detail and frustration over never finding women’s flat shoes that weren’t boring led to her founding the, in her own words, sassy shoe brand, ‘Rogue Matilda’. Rogue Matilda is the home of beautiful, well made flat shoes that are a focus point of an outfit rather than a necessity. We sat down with Katie at her south London HQ and talked all things jewellery and shoes.
Can you describe the story and motivation behind Rogue Matilda?
Rogue Matilda came about following years of frustration at the inability to find the perfect flat shoe: pumps were unsupportive, trainers unprofessional and traditional brogues unflattering. I wanted to create footwear with the craft and linear simplicity of a men’s shoe, but with the colour and personality of a womens heel. The focus has always been trying to attain this craft and quality but still at an achievable and affordable price point. I think the character of the shoes is what sets them apart from others on the market, and that smile inducing ‘feel good’ factor which stands in juxtaposition to other paired down and serious fashion accessories brands.
What or who is your main source of inspiration?
A lot of my colour and pattern inspiration comes from interiors, and I’m a huge fan of Paul Smith and David Hockney.
What is your favourite thing about what you do
The flexibility it gives me and the autonomy I have.
If you weren’t running Rogue Matilda what would you be doing?
I would probably be an Interior Designer, and I mean that in the sense of designing interiors collections rather than the profession. I did product/furniture design A level and I’ve found that since doing Rogue Matilda I would love to bring the colour and pattern I’ve discovered with the shoes to homeware and furniture design.
If you could have done one thing differently in your career what would it be?
I would have gone into the business with a business partner. Although this would have been more of a financial strain at the start, I would have liked to have someone share the journey with me who was as invested in the business as myself.
How has the business had to adapt during the current climate?
We’re incredibly lucky at Rogue Matilda not to have huge overheads as a company, and my office is relatively small and opposite my house in London. The only thing we’ve had to adapt has been our returns policy for online orders during lockdown, and we had to do a couple of discount sales around Easter as sales definitely dropped off a bit in March. Other than that it’s very much business as usual.
Where do you see yourself and the business in 5 years’ time?
When I first started the business I wanted it to be a big global beast, and I was looking to do a lot of wholesaling to achieve this. Having previously been a fashion buyer I guess this was second nature, however now we’ve pulled out of most wholesale and I love running it as an online UK business. I obviously want the company to continue to grow as it has the last few years, however I don’t want to look for investment or anything as at the moment I love my job so much and part of that comes from the flexibility it gives me. As a married 31 year old woman I want the company to be able to fit around my life for the next few years while I have children, and I also want the flexibility to be able to explore new territories such as RTW, bags and other styles of shoes with minimal risk.
Can you summarise what style means for you?
Style is an expression of your personality.
What are your top 3 styling tips
1/ Don’t be a slave to trends, and make considered purchases from unique independent brands, rather than mass buy disposable pieces from high street brands.
2/ Invest in outerwear, jackets and accessories as they will last the test of time.
3/ Day to day wear co ords suits and boilersuits and let your shoes, bags and jewellery do the talking. And any ‘wow’ dresses you buy for occasions should also be able to be worn with sneakers in the day to maximise wear.
Which are your favourite Kiki pieces and why?
I adore the Green Amethyst Pear and Oval Drop Diamond earrings in white gold. They are such a beautiful statement piece to pair with a linen suit for an event. I’ve also always been a ring girl, so the Citrine Mini Ripple Ring in yellow gold would be something I would wear a lot, and the colours are tonal enough to work into most outfits.