Sister and Brother Duo Make Fashionable Nude Shoes Available to Women of Color
Merriam-Webster defines “nude” as: “having a color (as pale, beige or tan) that matches the wearer’s skin tones.” Without a doubt, hues for women of color have been underrepresented in the fashion and beauty industry. Beauty counters all over the country house thousands of products in various shades, yet there is an overwhelming absence of darker tones. Fashion is not without fault. When the nude monochromatic trend hit the scene, women of color were scrambling to stores to buy into the sleek and sophisticated look. What did they find? Pale, beige and tan. Designers blatantly failed to include options for some of their highest consumers.
Recently I discovered a stunning brand that celebrates the diversity of melanin with an exquisite collection of pumps. Launched in 2016, House No: 3028 LLC is the brainchild of sister and brother duo, Thressa Smith and Norrell Casey, based out of Oakland, CA. The dynamic siblings have two major goals, to become successful black entrepreneurs focused on the inclusion of women of color, and to buy back their family home located in the Oakland foothills…House No: 3028.
Beyond the array of hues offered, I was immediately impressed by the quality of their product. An affordable pump, with the craftsmanship of a high-end designer heel. They feature non-slip rubber grip soles, extra memory foam padding (to ensure all day comfort) and matching soles. Did I mention that they are also made to order? Talk about exclusive! To get the perfect nude for each customer, House No: 3028 uses the proprietary algorithm of MyNudest.com to match a customer’s complexion with the right House No: 3028 shade. The brands signature hues are: Honey, Cookie, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Brownie & Cacao…YUM!
I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with the entrepreneurs about their blossoming brand, here’s what they had to say:
Why was it important to you to offer a nude shoe for women of color?
Thressa: Initially I was just shopping for myself. I lost 50lbs in preparation for a full spinal fusion surgery and I couldn’t fit anything, including my shoes. I knew that nude shoes were a wardrobe staple and couldn’t find an affordable option in my skin color, and that’s when the lightbulb went off that I couldn’t be the only one having this problem.
What was the first step you took toward becoming a shoe designer?
Thressa: I decided to learn the business by enrolling in an entrepreneurial training program. To be honest, I knew exactly what I wanted to create. I knew I wanted memory foam padding, so that I could stand up all day, and a rubber grip on the sole so I could wear them anywhere. I also wanted the soles to match the color of the shoe. I wanted our heels to be sleek, sexy and simple.
Thressa: Staying focused. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and so many of my symptoms make it difficult to run a company. That’s part of the reason my brother Norrell became my business partner. Everything I lack he has, and vice versa.
Norrell: I believe another major struggle is being an independent company without investors.
Why did you choose a pump?
Thressa: I decided the best way to go was to start with classic pieces that I could mix and match with anything. Like white blouses, classic denim, trench coats…real American classics (I was inspired by mother because she never leaves the house without looking polished). So, a classic pump was naturally my first choice. Honestly, what’s sexier than a pair of never ending legs punctuated with a nude shoe!
All entrepreneurs face challenges, what motivates you to continuing moving forward?
Thressa: Our family. I was lucky to be raised by a family who didn’t put limitations on me. I have a dream, and it’s going to come true…why would I stop.
Norrell: I just feel as though this is one my many purposes in life, and life is “lit”.
How many heel heights and shades do you currently offer?
Do you plan on offering different shoe styles in the future or will you always stay true to the classic pump?
We have so many plans for new shoes, we just want to make sure we don’t grow too quickly. But stay tuned…the next year will be epic!
Who are 3 celebrities that you would like to see wearing your shoes?
⦁ Michelle Obama: Her shoe game and style has always been impeccable. If she wore our shoes… that makes us best friends!
⦁ Angela Bassett: She never looks bad and if our heels can contribute to the perfection that she is, I’d be so proud.
⦁ Tiffany Haddish: Her story made me fall in love with her and she’s so beautiful. Watching her walk into her destiny is a site to behold. I’d give her heels just for how hard she’s made me laugh!
⦁ Erykah Badu: Damn…cause she’s Erykah, why not Erykah Badu! She’s like living breathing art, she’s art in motion.
⦁ Rihanna: She’s a trendsetter, unapologetically herself. As people of color, there’s so many stigmas placed on us that it’s hard for us to find our own individual identities.
⦁ Viola Davis: Beautiful dark-skinned woman like Viola Davis are often unrepresented.
Where do you see your brand in the next 3 years?
Thressa: In the next 3 years I’d like to expand to both kids and men’s shoes (it won’t be nude shoes), we have a couple of ideas we’d like to see come to fruition. I would also like to create a platform that helps black women with mental health issues, and I believe House No: 3028 is going to facilitate it.
For additional information on House No: 3028, visit https://www.thirtytwentyeight.com/
About The Dia Diaries
The Dia Diaries showcases celebrity interviews, product reviews and global event coverage, provided by the Columnist and her team of contributors.
Chandia Brennen aka “Dia”, has over a decade of fashion experience, and dozens of journalistic and editorial credits to her name. Dia has covered, The Vogue Fashion Experience in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and provided coverage for events in Paris, Italy, NY, LA and South Korea, on behalf of The Dia Diaries.
Dia is a Former Fashion and Beauty Director that currently holds senior-level fashion positions in NY, LA and San Francisco.
For more information, visit www.TheDiaDiaries.com