How She’s Making It Work: Rebecca Allen
Shoe designer and entrepreneur Rebecca Allen shares how she’s carving her own path in fashion with her luxury footwear brand for women of color.
Rebecca Allen wanted to be a lot of things as a little girl: an actor, an architect, an auto engineer. Her current profession isn’t something she saw coming: Allen is the founder and CEO of her eponymous luxury women’s footwear brand that’s the first of its kind in its mission to make nude shoes for all skin shades.
Allen spent her 20s exploring different careers across coasts. After going to business school for a “reset,” she found herself again in a corporate job that she enjoyed but didn’t satisfy her entrepreneurial mindset, creative spirit, and long-term vision.
“I think a lot of times when you say things out loud that you’re holding inside—and you shine light on them—you can remove the power they might be holding over you.”
Throughout her jobs, she struggled to find nude shoes that complemented her skin tone—and she knew she wasn’t alone. Determined to do something about it, she started the process of launching her own nude shoe company. “I just asked myself, do you want to wake up one day and wish that you tried it and regret not having tried it?” says Allen. “I didn’t want to wake up and regret not having tried it.”
The Rebecca Allen brand—comprising shoes known to be ridiculously stylish and comfortable—has continued to find success since its 2018 launch, including a recent retail partnership with Nordstrom.
Allen’s leap of faith started it all. Along the way, she learned three things everyone—especially future entrepreneurs—should carry with them.
Your self-talk influences your reality.
The way we talk to ourselves is fundamental to how we navigate the world, so it’s important to be intentional and self-aware. For Allen, it was important to stay aware of her inner voice and steer it towards kindness and encouragement.
She finds that saying thoughts out loud can help combat negativity. “I think a lot of times when you say things out loud that you’re holding inside—and you shine light on them—you can remove the power they might be holding over you,” says Allen.
Whether you want to start a business, land a new job, or boost your confidence, think about how you want to be talked to. Then, lead by example.
Embrace the power of networking.
“You really have to be ready to say ‘yes’ a lot in the beginning.”
Being open and putting yourself out there can lead to the unimaginable.
Some of Allen’s most memorable moments connecting with others include when Yvette Noel-Shure (Beyoncé and Chloe X Halle’s publicist) reached out to her and later became an advisor to the brand.
“You really have to be ready to say ‘yes’ a lot in the beginning,” Allen says, and the good will come.
The footwear concept was an idea that, Allen says, always lingered in the back of her mind. Looking back on her journey, she wants to encourage others not to wait to make their ideas a reality.
“Get a plan in place and start chipping away at it,” she says. “Everybody is very scared about success and failure and how those two things weave together.” But an even tougher feeling to come to terms with: regret.