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Women’s transformer shoes go from kitten pumps to 3.5-inch heels at push of a button

SINGAPORE – Switch into a pair of dress shoes fit for an important meeting or a night out without having to bring along a separate pair to change into.

SINGAPORE – Switch into a pair of dress shoes fit for an important meeting or a night out without having to bring along a separate pair to change into.

Soon, women will be able to do so – with the click of a heel.

A former Singaporean accountant Cherre Hermogena Eng decided to give up her well-paying job to invest her time and money into producing the shoe that will do just that.

Five years later, her homegrown shoe label Gena will launch a line of women’s footwear with adjustable heel heights that can transform from a 2cm heel to 9cm, and vice versa. For a start, there are only three designs on offer: a leather pump, suede pointed toe pump and sandals, and each pair costs between S$190 to S$250.

Eng, 27, came up with the idea when she was 15. “I was with my parents and we saw a lot of girls walking barefooted around Clarke Quay which was horrible. I thought we had to do something about that,” said Eng. The girls, she explained, took their shoes off because their heels were painful and uncomfortable.

She added: “When I was 17, I started wearing heels myself and then I understood the hassle and pain of wearing heels.”

Eng kept the idea in on the back burner as she did not yet have enough funds to finance the research and development of prototypes.

The idea stuck with her and she began sourcing for materials in Hong Kong in 2014, where she had been working. She eventually quit her job at the end of 2015 to focus all her efforts on Gena.

Eng sank in S$50,000 of her savings and developed five prototypes of the shoe.

To help fund her start-up, Eng also went on crowndfunding platform Kickstarter to raise money about a month ago. Her goal was to raise S$20,000, which she hoped would offset some of the expenses she had already incurred during product development.

Six weeks later, she has raised over S$37,000 – more than one and half times her target amount – and received more than 250 orders for her shoes so far.

“We use pure napa lambskin leather, which is the softest in the world, meaning you don’t have to break in the shoes and they won’t bite. We also use steel for the heel,” said Eng, who has a diploma in Fashion Technology (Footwear Design & Product Development).

Eng added that she manually assembles the shoes in her home in a tedious process of wrapping, hammering, gluing and nailing. Each pair typically takes two and a half hours to assemble, she said.

One customer, Zhou Yan Ling, 38, chanced upon the Gena shoes while shopping at Millenia Walk and ended up ordering two pairs – the black leather pumps and nude sandals.

Said Zhou: “They were comfortable. (Cherre) also demonstrated how it worked and it was really easy to adjust the heights.”

“I usually can’t wear heels for long, especially three inch heels. I want to look classy but can’t take the pain so I thought that the shoes are a really good idea. When I’m tired, (or during) times of the day when I don’t feel I need to look that classy or am rushing, I can convert them to a comfy heel.”

Gena shoes are displayed at We The People at Orchard Central or Millenia Walk, and customers can order through Gena’s website (www.genasg.com), which will be launched next week.

Those who have ordered through the KickStarter page will receive their shoes from October.

More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/genasingapore/

 

 

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