My London: Jennifer Bailey – Founder & CEO of footwear label Calla

Jennifer Bailey is a marketing professional turned entrepreneur, and founder / owner of Calla shoes.

Launched in 2016 as a way to help women like herself find footwear that was both stylish, but also comfortable on problem areas such as bunions, the unique label aims to boost customers confidence by creating a range that provides support in all of the right places.

Unlike regular wide fitting shoes, Calla footwear is “wide in the toe box, but standard in the heel”, thus providing those in need with additional width and volume where it’s needed most. Sourcing only the softest, luxury leather and suede, the brands uppers are carefully crafted to disguise bunions, with vamps coming up higher than in regular footwear, to ensure all “lumps and bumps” are tucked in.

To ensure the highest quality of materials and craftsmanship, all Calla shoes are handmade in the Porto region of Portugal.

We caught up with Jennifer Bailey for the latest edition of our ‘My London’ interview series.

Favourite neighbourhood:

Whenever I’m in town I like to head to Covent Garden, because I just think it’s a great place to walk around, and explore! Each time I go, there are things happening, new installations and performances to see. The atmosphere is always electric and it’s fun to people watch.

Favourite place for brunch:

26 Grains in Neal’s Yard – tasty dishes with a healthy touch, so you don’t feel too bad about indulging.

Best coffee in London:

Fair Shot, great coffee and beautiful messaging behind the cafe as they support adults with learning disabilities and/or autism by giving them jobs and teaching them skills to help them gain future employment.

Favourite gallery or museum:

My favourite museum has to be the Victoria and Albert Shoe Museum, it always inspires me

Tell us a secret:

I only managed to wear my wedding shoes for an hour before needing to kick them off as they were so uncomfortable. This actually gave me the initial spark for my brand Calla.

Favourite place to shop:

Marylebone is fun to explore and find interesting boutiques and pop ups. I do like Oxford Street and Carnaby Street too, but the high street has changed so much recently so I prefer to go a little off road to find new gems.

Favourite place to find inspiration:

Again, I would have to say the V&A, with all their different exhibits both permanent and temporary you can walk around for hours before realising how the times flown by!

Best London destination for a date:

Chotto Matte in Marylebone has a great ambiance, and the menu is incredible. They also have seats outside so in the summer it’s a nice spot for a cocktail or two with friends.

Favourite Park:

Hyde Park, it’s always fun to wander around and explore the different parts of the park. It’s nice to stop in the Serpentine gallery too.

Favourite food market:

Borough Market for sure! I used to work with food producers in an old job and many of them are at this market.

Your sanctuary in the city:

The garden at the centre of the V&A is a lovely place to relax after an exhibition. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of London.

What inspires you?

Learning about how other people have succeeded in life and overcome adversity. I like to take on mentors for my business who are people who have been there, done it, made the mistakes and are keen to share their stories.

This season I’m loving…

The colour ‘butter’ – it looks so lovely on boots and loafers in particular. We actually have lots of shoes featuring this colour in our new collection.