I’m interviewing a smart, creative and awesome woman. She designed a brand that would please everyone from a size 5 to a size 12 and better. Her concept…. to make shoes that would make everyone happy. Her name is Kris Bailey. She’s a shoe designer from Maryland. The name of her shoes… Your highnezz Heels. Keep an eye on her, for she’s about to be a marketing brand that’s going to rise.
SKII: How did you come up with that concept?
Kris: The way I came up with the concept from what I thought was a need for fashionable shoes in larger sizes. That’s where the full concept come from. The launching of catering to women with larger sizes such as myself. I wear size 12 and I have been wearing a size 12 since I was 12. So, you can imagine being a child of the 1980’s, you know… no internet. I just had a terrible experience with shoes. A terrible struggle. I had to go to specialty stores with my mom to find shoes that would fit my feet.
I remember we had to go to Lane Bryant to look for my shoes. Lane Bryant caters to larger sizes and they have large sizes in shoes too. I couldn’t wear heels. I had to wear flats or boys sneakers. I remember we had to travel to find shoes that would fit me.
SKII: How long have you been making your shoes?
Kris: Well this process actually just started this year. And again, it was from my frustration. I remember in April being online shopping for shoes. I love shoes. My passion for shoes comes from my childhood struggle with not finding shoes and then I’m always noticing women shoes, I was always thinking, I wished they made that shoe in my size. So, I’m always aware of women shoes. It came from me being on line. I remember it was this past spring and going into different shoes and I put that shoe in my shoe size and one shoe would come up. I would say, oh wow! This is an insane style. When I further investigate, of course, it was a mistake. Of course it wasn’t in my size. I always start with an online search for my size – a size 12 and I see all of the wrong sizes and I click into it thinking oh wow, they have these shoes in my size and no. They don’t make it in my size. They stop at a size 10. So when that kept happening, I said to myself… I’m retired now I’m going to put some thought and real effort in creating my own shoe line. And that’s when it actually started. It started in April. Now that I’m not working because I’m fully retired from the government so I can give this 1,000 percent of my effort. I’m trying to find a manufacturer that would make hot shoes that caters to women with large feet. So that’s where it started.
I did not go to college but, I did take courses back into the 1990’s. I did not get a degree. I started working for the government right out of high school. I graduated from high school in 1987. I started working as a Clerk typist and then worked my way up to becoming a Management Program Analyst for the Government department in 1988. I’ve been with them ever since. I just retired from them In December of 2013. I retired from them after working 25 years. I just had lots of certifications for my career but I don’t have a college degree. My focus on the shoe has just been from a consumer standpoint, not necessarily from a designer’s background. Just as a consumer. What’s hot, what women want, what woman like to wear so that’s where that came from. There is a story behind the name.
The tag line behind the name Your highnez is; Demand attention and respect at your feet. What stemmed from that is focusing on women with larger sizes feet. I just feel like we have been so disrespected with the idea of building shoes to fit women up to a size 10. And when we find shoes in our sizes, they are not as stylish as everyone else shoes. So basically, I felt like we were settling for whatever style we could find in our size. Your highnezz is basically saying .. all women of all sizes deserve fashionable shoes.
SKII: Have you sold any of your shoes? How are you marketing your shoes?
Kris: No. I haven’t sold any of my shoes yet because my website is still in pre-launch. I’m actually in the process of loading approximately 70 shoes to the East from the website. So when you go into the website of Your Highnezz.com its just the landing page because everything on the web is not done completely. I’m asking people to email me their email address and show sizes. So far my marketing efforts have been through social media – facebook, twitter, Instagram and I have so many women waiting to purchase my shoes. I put in hashtag words that is affiliated with what I am marketing for women with large sizes. I would find them and I would ask them to take a look at what I’m trying to do and I’m launching hot shoes in your size. So far Instagram have been pretty good. I’ve gotten interests as far as France from women who want my shoes. I remember getting an email that I could not read. I had to try to find some sort of conversion language converter to read the email because it was in French. It was a French woman excited about the launch because she wear a size 13. She’s looking for sexy shoes in her size. She can’t wait for the website to launch. She wanted to make sure we supply world wide shipping which we do. We will have that from the launch.
Then I got an email. Three retailers who found me on Instagram who are interested in having my shoes in their boutiques. One in Memphis; one in Texas and one in Florida. The reason I attended Fashion week was to have the connection and to meet people in the industry to get the word out about the shoes. My real reason for going to fashion week wasn’t really about going to the fashion show. It really was about connecting with the industry between the fashion shows and I am so glad that I did that. I had 4 interviews right there on the spot. I have designers that are actually interested in a collaboration because what I’ve learned is that a lot of designers don’t have their own shoes. You know… with these tall models, with a size 2 or 4 dress size they still have a size 12 or more in shoe size. A lot of them have to bring their own shoe when they walk. I didn’t know that.
SKII: Where were you born and raised?
Kris: I was born and raised in Maryland Southern Maryland, Waldorf Maryland to be exact. Yeah. All my life, I lived in Maryland. I attended Community college and I also attended 3 high schools because we moved 3 times to different places because of my grandmother passing. We had to move from our house into her house. I attended Parkdale high school from 9th grade to 10th grade. Largo high school and then I went to Crossland High School. Crossland high school is where I graduated from in 1987. And then I did a few years at French George community college. That’s where I went to school but, never went to a business school or trade school pertaining to my brand. This idea was because of my shoe size.
SKII: Are you married with children?
Kris: I am. I am married to my lovely husband who have been wirh me for 18 years Chris Bailey. And my children, I have 3 children. My son Joseph is 26 years old. 14 year old Kyra and 10 year old Kamryn. I have 2 grandchildren. My son has 2 children. 5 year old Joseph the 4th. He is the 4th generations of Josephs in my family and 2 year old Isiah. It’s funny how we met with the same names except one is with a C and the other is K. Chris and Kris Bailey.
SKII: Are your parents still alive and where do they live?
Kris: My mother Tawana is one of my very best friends. She is a phenomenal woman. Of course I did not think that as I was growing up because she was a bit mean to me but, yeah as an adult, things are just the greatest. She is still here as well as my father Harry. They both are in Maryland. My family absolutely love what I am doing. They love the name Yourhighnezz heels. My mother is the one person who inspired to do do what I am doing. She has a saying; We are “Can Do Women…” My mother bestowed that into my sister and I from toddlers to growing up into adulthood. I know that’s why I went into this direction because my mother kept telling us this quote over and over again – We Are Can Do Women, especially when we felt things were going wrong and we wanted to give up, we were frustrated over something, for encouragement – she would instill that quote into us over and over again. And till today when I feel something is not going right, I would say to myself – OK Kris you are a “Can Do Woman.” It helps me get through that situation.
Another story regarding this quote. My sister who is a year younger than I was giving birth and she had an aneurysm that was caused by the anesthesiologist. She had a stroke in the middle of her giving birth. She was in her 30’s when it happened. She was 33 when it happened. And now, she is partially paralyzed on the right side. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t move. She immediately had to go to rehab to become better. Her new child had to go home with her husband and we all had to pitch in to take care of the baby and her. But, anyway… when she wasn’t able to talk, she motioned for someone’s phone and she tried to type in “Can Do Woman”. She tried to tell everyone ok, She can’t talk, she can’t move but, she is still a “Can Do Woman”. That’s how much we heard that in our life.
My husband, he is an international business man. I see him moving and shaking and he is going off to Europe and to Africa and next month, we are going off to the Carribean. This is all for his business. He works for the fuel industry. He has business partners all over the world. He’s always travelling somewhere and he has been doing this for the past five years. It has completely changed our lives. That was why I was able to retire from my job because of the income he has been bringing in. He was an IT Manager for Homeland security and I was a Management Program Analyst so we both had that type of job that made pretty good money. But, his business started making more money than his IT security job was making. Now with his business, he was able to take care of all of us with his salary and I am able to fund my shoeline with my money from retirement. He inspires me. He truly does. The change I have seen in him within the past five years, he is this man taking care of his family and trying to put money in other people pockets by hiring them to work for him, travelling all over the world and with getting me to read self development books and yes, He is a great inspiration to me as well as my mom. So, I would say to someone who wants to go after a goal or to start a business, to start working towards it. When I hear of people speaking about their dreams and there’s no real action with it. They want this and they want that but, you have to put the action to the work. So I try to tell people, even if you don’t know what you don’t know, start learning. Start making moves now and start taking action at the same time.
I started with an idea about a shoe line not even a year ago and I already have retailers on hold. They want my item. I have women waiting in other parts of the world. This effort have taken less than a year. This was just from my idea. Have I just thought about it and read up on it but never really pursued it, it wouldn’t be any retailers waiting for orders. There wouldn’t be any manufacturers waiting to produce my product. There wouldn’t be customers. I wouldn’t been at fashion week. So I tell people to make moves every single day. Every single day. I tell my daughter this as well as my son. Don’t be afraid of the word “NO”. Because a lot of people don’t ask questions. They won’t put themselves in situations that may give them opportunities because they are afraid that person may say “NO”. So they keep their ideas and whatever they want to do because they are afraid that the person may say “NO” to them. So what that person say’s No. Move on and that next person will say “YES”.
My interview with Kris Bailey from Maryland, whom just started her business months ago, already have a huge following fan base. She has retailers waiting for her shipments as well as famous people who are in the sporting world. She is a designer definitely on the rise and she is all about moving her feet and gearing towards bigger and better things. Her brand…. YOURHIGHNEZZ Heels. Designer shoes that would fit everyone from a size 5 to a size 12 and better. She is definitely one to watch. Keep your feet on the ground and find YOURHIGHNEZZ Heels. Shoes that would soothe the soul of your feet.