It's April 23rd of 2016 and our store is officially open for business, although the full launch will come a bit later. Welcome to Tomboy Toes! We're glad you found your way here.
After a couple of months of working hard sourcing, trying out samples, planning, and talking nonstop about our new company, we're completely thrilled to say we're now taking orders. Our warehouse is stocked with the initial inventory of Dappers and Brogues, and the shoemaker for our Tommy Classics is ready to start making some sleek formal oxfords to order as soon as we start getting customers.
I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and to introduce the company. My name is Lauren, and I'm the founder and CEO of Tomboy Toes. I'm an entrepreneur in my mid twenties, a queer woman with a historically masculine sense of style, and a full-time employee of two startups in addition to this exciting venture.
If you were to go back in time and tell a tiny version of me that one day I would start a company in the fashion industry, I would have rolled my eyes at you and scoffed dramatically. Fashion, to me, was a dirty word. I had never been fashionable. I had zero desire to be fashionable. Fashion meant femininity, as far as I was aware. I liked the men's section of the store best, which made me unfashionable, and I was ready to embrace that label if it meant I didn't have to wear a skirt.
It feels right, somehow, to be attempting this company in defiance of my hatred of fashion. The truth is, I didn't really hate fashion - I hated that the kind of fashion that matched my own personal sense of self was deemed off limits to my tiny tomboy self. I hated that when I took my father's baseball cap and wore it backwards, swaggering and flexing my bitty four year old arms, people squealed with delight and told me how cute I was. I didn't want to be cute! I wanted to be cool!
So here I am, full circle, as an adult. Fashion and style and confidence are so closely interlinked. If we accept that everything is performative, especially when it comes to gendered clothing, my goal is to give you the best tools to give a performance you're proud of. You can see in the photo here some of the samples we received as part of our product research. When I put those shoes on and stepped outside, I felt great. I walked with my shoulders back and my chin high. I was swelling with pride as I hopped onto the subway.
And that was how I knew I had shoes I wanted to sell to other women - a product that I could feel proud of. I want to give every person who has been denied access to classy men's shoes the ability to feel as good as I felt wearing the prototype of the Dappers that warm spring morning. Whether you're feminine as heck and love skirts and lipstick, whether you're butch or tomboyish, whether you sit somewhere in between, or whether you don't even identify as a woman but still have a hard time finding shoes in your size... this is for you.
This is for everybody who feels awkward for wanting to shop in the men's section, who struggles with guilt every time their heart reaches sadly for a piece of menswear they desperately want to try on. This is for the people who work up the courage to ask the sales person on the floor whether they've got those shoes in a women's size six, knowing the answer will be no, knowing they risk being sneered at, regarded as some sort of weirdo.
Look, maybe we are weirdos, okay? But at Tomboy Toes, we want you to be the best-dressed, most confident and dashing weirdo you possibly can be.
So thanks for stopping by! If you want to support us, buy a pair of shoes - if you want to support us but can't buy anything right now, or don't see the perfect pair for you, the next best thing is to sign up for our mailing list. I'll be letting you know when we get new stuff in stock, what sales are happening, and any cool news. Just subscribing to our emails means a lot, so don't be shy. Stay tuned for the full launch in a couple of weeks!