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Walking (Fashionably) Tall
Shayna Teh of local height-increasing shoe pioneer, Schuhster gives us a heightened perspective on footwear.
Should fashion be functional? In some cases, we opt for style that makes us look a little more flattering than how we are normally perceived; some don pinstripes to look slimmer, white clothing to help endure the unbearable heat, huge sunglasses to make you look like someone famous, or at least that’s the impression that people get. And if you’re wondering is there anything you can put on to make you feel taller... then probably you need to check out Schuhster. They take their height seriously.
It was during her husband's tenure in Germany when owner Shayna Teh stumbled upon a pair of elevator shoes at a flea market. A simple, inspiring moment that led to the formation of Schuster by the time they returned home. They now supply their elevator shoes to various international markets. A young company, they were one of the Malaysian designers invited to showcase their designs at the recently concluded Expo Milano 2015, made possible by the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).
“We take pride in introducing ourselves as the first elevator shoe designer in Malaysia, especially when we participate in bridal fairs or fashion events. The best comments we have received so far is our customers love our shoes as they increase the wearer’s height and they like it for our comfortable enhanced soles. The worst comment is that the shoe price is comparable to a pair of Feraggamos.” Shayna answers sincerely. Operating from their base of operations in Penang seems to add yet another hurdle for Schuhster, but that does not seem to dampen their efforts.
They make sure the brand is always participating in events for startups, frequenting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore just to capture the right market’s attention. “Our target audience is mainly the Gen Y’s and the more stylish crowd; and most of them reside in big cities. In terms of operation costs, we need to factor in the frequent travelling we make to KL when we inspect our factories. We’re not reaching out to our consumers directly as often as we should be."
Marketing Schuhster seems to be Teh's biggest concern. Yet, there is still so much room for growth for Schuhster as a company. Already with a steady following locally and in the region, the company does not shy away from opportunities to expand into to a wider market.
This young and eager team is always on the lookout for kickstarter programs to venture into fashion markets in the States as well as the UK; and has a vision to have their brand present in most major cities worldwide.
When asked about the usual height of their clientele, Shayna quips, “Some of our customers are as tall as 5 feet 8 inches but they still wear Schuhster to keep up with the girls (height) these days. They’re not short as well." Fashion does give us a little boost of confidence, one way or the other.
By Smek Almohdzar
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