What are the ways to a woman’s heart? If you ask us, it’s three things: handbags, jewelry, and heels. Yes, there is way more to nurturing a woman’s heart, but a nasty heel will get you through the door, at least. Whether it’s a mean pointed toe, an arch like no other or a chic strap detail, Jessica Rich understands what it takes to design an irresistible shoe. The Los-Angeles based designer is a go-to for some of the most stylish celebrities including Cardi B, Normani, Saweetie, and many more.
Let’s step into Rich’s shoes for a second, she originally launched her eponymous label in 2015 after building a loyal following via social media, which led to opening an online store. Fast forward to December 2020, Rich opened her first brick and mortar store in a retail space formerly occupied by Giuseppe in the Los-Angeles Beverly Center. Although the designer’s store lives next to Versace, Burberry, and Balenciaga, she embraces her own definition of luxury. “My definition of luxury is something that is made of high end materials, and it doesn’t have to be super glitzy, but just well crafted,” Rich tells ESSENCE. “It has to give an aesthetic that’s different from the everyday shoe. When you look at it, it looks luxe.”
After building a successful online presence and running a physical store in today’s hyper-digital era, Rich is ready to take on new heights and expand her brand. As of November 15th, Rich is now one of the first Black shoe designers to be sold by Bloomingdales – her footwear will be available online and in five U.S. locations. For Rich, the historical accomplishment is a dream come true. “I would walk the floor and see the designers we all trust and know because they’ve been around for 100 years and it got to the point when it was like ‘God will they ever let anyone else in? Like, what do we need to do to pass the test?’” Rich said. “I would see replications of my designs on the floor from other designers, and it was very frustrating,” she added. Now, Rich can say she is one of the two Black footwear designers that have broken down that barrier. When asked what this achievement meant to her, she expressed sincere gratitude and reflected on the work ethic that led to this moment. “It definitely means we are capable of anything with constant determination, drive, hopes, and dreams,” she expressed. “Even when it seems unrealistic, someone can make a way somehow.”
Aside from dressing some of the most fashionable celebrities, Rich also designs her shoes with the ideal Jessica Rich woman in mind. “She is daring, edgy, and sophisticated. She’s the mom, she’s the wife, she’s the it girl,” said Rich. “Even though she may have her casual days, she knows how to dress up and let people know that she’s in the building,” she added. In other words, if you’re slipping your feet in Jessica Rich heels, you are guaranteed to serve a look and turn heads when you walk through.
Although Rich has accomplished a great deal, she is just getting started. “I would love to reach overseas retailers,” Rich tells ESSENCE. “We have customers overseas that order online from us, but to have an actual presence there in stores is my next goal for next year,” she added. “And I would love to do a collaboration with Tom Ford. I don’t know how it will get done, but I am obsessed with him.”