A Conversation with Natasha Norie Standard of the Norie Shoe Company
Natasha Norie Standard is a U.S. Army combat veteran, entrepreneur, and owner of the Norie Shoe Company. Since its inception in 2017, Natasha strives for excellence creating a successful and lucrative business in the male dominated industry. Using her platform to advocate for veterans issues, such as raising awareness for suicide prevention, she continues to leave no soldier behind. Natasha has been featured in Fox News, Forbes and the Military Times further cementing her mark on the fashion culture. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Norie Shoe Company donates 20% of its proceeds from sales to the American Red Cross. Here, we are going to learn a bit more about not only Norie Shoes, but also the charismatic woman behind the brand.
When did your love and appreciation for fashion begin?
I have loved fashion ever since I can remember. Being from Indianapolis, IN, in the Midwest we had four sets of clothing; Summer/Spring, Winter/Fall, play clothes and church clothes. I was close to both of my grandmothers, and both would say, “You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they are wearing!” I believe that is accurate.
Who has been your greatest fashion influence?
My greatest fashion influence is my personality and my body. When I dress and choose clothing, I choose what is best for my body, my shape, my height, and my skin tone. I think trends and fads are cool, but if it does not look great on my body, I will never wear it.
What made you decide to create your own shoe line?
I spent one year in Milan, Italy learning how to make shoes. I learned footwear design and footwear pattern making. Then, I decided I had the tools to bring something different to the footwear market. My goal is to create beautiful shoes that is also wearable, and walkable. I want women to be able to walk around in shoes that do not hurt their feet. Another motivation is that most shoe designers are men, and they do not have to wear the shoes they design. Imagine that.
You are a US Army veteran. Thank you for your service. How has your military service impacted your entrepreneurship?
You are welcome. As a United States Army Airborne Logistics Officer, leading organizations in the Army taught me about leadership, setting goals, resiliency, and integrity. Important traits necessary for a successful business.
What does your brand say about you as a person?
That is a great question. I believe my brand brings to light the absolute strength of a woman’s power. We women can do anything and still be feminine and beautiful and smile. The colors are soft and feminine. I love exotic skins, clean lines, and great sneakers. Our signature bow is Japanese inspired. I use the same bow on ankle booties, pumps, flat sandals, and sneakers.
How has entrepreneurship impacted your life?
My first year in business, I submitted a request to vacate my apartment and forgot to resend the request. I had three days to vacate my apartment without penalty. Then, I realized this business had taken over my life. Now, I have two “To Do Lists,” one for business and the other for my life. It is the most challenging thing I have ever done, but it is the most fulfilled I have ever felt. I have done a lot of things in my life. I have traveled to, passed through, or lived in about 52 countries, jumped from airplanes, repelled from helicopters, lived in Hawaii, attended a Formula One Race in Monaco, and received a Bronze Star during combat.
Who are your customers? Describe them.
My customers are early adopters, men and women who want to be fashionably different. They are always ahead of the trend and have previously purchased luxury shoes while understanding the value of luxury footwear.
What challenges have you faced as a Woman of Color in business?
Understanding I am a black woman, most of my family are men. I also spent most of my life around men. I may have faced challenges that I am not yet aware of, but men are not a hard study. When I set my goals, I get there.
Do you feel it is important to be supported by and supportive towards other women in business?
Of course, I am supportive of anyone attempting to do something positive for the betterment of our overall community.
What has being a woman in business revealed about yourself?
Okay, I have a different perspective. Before owning my business, I was a successful U.S. Army Officer. So, before starting my business, I knew my strengths and weaknesses. They were tested while I was a Commanding Officer in Iraq. I have already pushed myself to that uncomfortable place that most people will not go. So, I would say, nothing new has been revealed.
Describe the perfect go to shoe?
Our “Zeno Sneaker” is our most popular shoe. It is made of nappa leather that molds to your foot, clean lines, and features our signature Japanese bow with a two-inch platform. You can walk forever in them and look sleek and stylish.
In your own personal collection, how many pairs of shoes do you own?
500 What is the greatest aspiration for your business?
My finite goal is to sell 25K pairs of shoes per year. I would like my shoes to be worn by Michelle Obama, Janelle Monae, Hailey Baldwin, Solange Knowles, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristin Cavallari. Also, to be featured on any of the red carpets to include the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and to be on the cover of Forbes Magazine.
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