We first met in person at the #teamtall 1st birthday celebrations in London and you were ‘the girl with THE shoes!’ I recall you being full of passion and enthusiasm as you talked about your shoe startup and your new luxury footwear collection. Fast forward to today and I am thrilled to hear that you have launched.
Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on reaching this point – I’m excited to share your collection with our readers. Now, let’s rewind back to the start of your fashionable footwear journey so our readers can learn a bit more about you; the designer, the entrepreneur and the fellow tall girl!
Tell us a bit more about yourself…
My full name is Paula Oyinkansola Motunrayo Macaulay and I’m exactly 5’10 ½ (179cm). As some can probably tell from my name, I’m of Nigerian heritage, my parents moved to the UK way back when and my sisters and I were born and bred here. I currently live outside of London and work as a marketing assistant whilst working on my shoes.
Random fact, (for the dog lovers amongst us) I got a puppy as a graduation gift who’s a Shih Tzu called Boo and he’s soo adorable.
Why shoes? What inspired you to focus on luxury and the UK size 7-11 market?
I’ve always had a love for shoes but in my second year of university my interest in fashion grew a lot. I was able to get the clothes that I wanted but the shoes aah! Stylish shoes in a size 9 were practically mythical! I decided enough was enough and started doing research. So the reason I decided to focus on UK size 7-11 is because I felt that there must be other women out there that had the same struggles as me. I want women like me to be able to have quality shoes that are stylish, unique and exclusive to them which is why the luxury angle.
Before you embarked on this fashion footwear adventure, did you have any previous fashion or business experience?
I had absolutely zero fashion experience before starting this journey. I went to university to study law which is one of the furthest things from fashion and the last time I did any kind of art was in year 9, which was several years ago. But I’ve had to learn and I feel like I’m definitely able to articulate what I want on paper and as the brand grows I’m sure I’ll continue to improve.
I feel like law is quite closely related to business so I have some experience from that side. Also when I was younger I was forever coming up with new ventures to start so I feel like having my own business is something that is destined for me.
Have you designed the shoes and how involved are you in the creative side of the business?
Yes all Rayo shoes are my own designs, I get inspiration from all over the place, so I’m pretty involved in the creative side of the business. At the moment I’m pretty involved in ALL areas of the business, haha!
You are manufacturing here in the UK, was that something important for the RAYO brand?
I decided to manufacture in the UK for a number of reasons. Shoes that are manufactured in the UK tend to be of a very good quality. And this was important to me because my brand is a luxury brand and part of luxury is quality and durability. Also, having a manufacturer in the UK makes life easy for me. I’m able to regularly meet with them and there’s no language barrier. Plus, footwear manufacturing (particularly women’s shoes) in the UK has dwindled a lot in the past few decades so it feels good to be able to put back into the industry and hopefully help it to grow again.
For our readers who haven’t seen RAYO shoes, can you describe your brand in 5 words
Cute, quirky, trendy, unique and comfy.
Tell us a bit more about your debut style & what we can expect from the RAYO brand in the future?
My aim with the designs is to take a classic and tweak it or make it quirky. And I really do want my designs to be exclusively for ladies with large feet. Rayone is our debut style. It is a very feminine style because of the cut and the pompom adds a delicate finish to the style (the pompom is also detachable).
The goal for Rayo is to be the one stop shop (cliché I know) for ladies with large feet looking for fashionable luxury shoes. We’re going to have high heels, flats, boots, sandals and so much more in the months and years to come. I think it’s about time that ladies with large feet have a good selection of different shoes to choose from.
Please describe yourself in ONE word?!
Ooh this is hard! I would have to say ambitious.
Paula’s Tall Guides Takeaway:
What three pieces of advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business or footwear brand?
1. Nothing worth having comes easily. If you are looking to start a business or have already started one then just continue to persevere; regardless of what’s thrown your way or how long it takes.
2. This is one of my favourite quotes. It’s so true and I feel like it’s applicable in so many areas of life. “Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says I’m possible”.
3. Lastly, just do it.