Since dominating the charts as one fifth of the empowering girl group ‘The Pussycat Dolls’, Ashley Roberts has been a prominent feature on our television screens. Now, she’s taken on a bold career move with her own shoe collection, ALLYN.
WeAreTheCity met with Ashley to discuss building a brand, making the leap from entertainment to business, and how ALLYN shoes are for every woman.
The ALLYN collection will make any woman feel powerful
Ashley wants ALLYN to be for every woman: “The brand tagline, ‘Making shoes to empower women to feel kick-ass’ and the collection itself is about ensuring that women will feel powerful in whatever they wear. The shoes can easily be worn to work, with a pencil skirt, or out for the day in ripped jeans, and still feel 100% confident.”
She explains: “Each design for ALLYN came from my love of fashion and in particular, shoes, combined with my family’s musical background. It was so important for me to connect with a variety of women from all backgrounds.”
There were doubts surrounding Ashley becoming a businesswoman
She speaks fondly of her time in the Pussycat Dolls: “As a group we just had so much fun. It was such a huge part of my life, and I truly loved every moment. I’ve made some really solid friends.”
Because of her performing background, business may not have seemed the most obvious choice for Roberts: “It did raise eyebrows when I changed careers and started this footwear line. But this isn’t me just placing my name to a label, I have worked very hard to set this up and get it off the ground. I am so proud to have achieved this.”
Ashley was involved in every element of creating ALLYN
“When initially setting up ALLYN I wanted to ensure I owned the brand myself. I’m involved in every single element and really enjoy it, I am the creative lead as well as the business mind. I know what is happening across all elements of the brand at any one time, which is so, so important to me, as the brand is me. I’m used to being in front of the camera, so it’s been tricky, but I’ve loved it.”
She describes being part of every moment of ALLYN’s conception and creation: “I have visited showrooms and factories. I want this to work so I am putting everything into it myself.”
In this life you can’t wait for things to happen, you have to keep pushing yourself.
Research is the key to a successful business
Ashley describes research as integral to launching her business: “Research research research. Do lots of research! Understand your customer, your competitors and have a solid knowledge of what you want to achieve. Don’t expect miracles and be willing to put time and energy into making it happen. Nothing happens in a day. I’d never done anything like this before but it’s been so wonderful to be an active part in the full process.”
One of the shoe’s is named after Prince
Her performance roots have hugely influenced the collection: “ALLYN has been inspired by my rock ‘n’ roll past and there’s a few masculine details throughout the label. Every shoe is named after 90’s icons that have been an inspiration to me, including ‘Liv’, ‘Cindy’ and ‘Prince’.
There’s something for any women in the label, as it features a mix of spring flats, cone heels and the designs are available in various colours. “I really wanted a premium product, so we’ve used the finest Italian leathers and the best factories for production.”
Ashley’s caught the business bug
“I’m currently working on the second season of ALLYN, launching in Autumn/Winter, and then moving into Spring/Summer of 2018 too. I really want to expand the label from shoes to other elements once it’s taken off!”
“Ladies, let’s go out there and kick ass! Take on a challenge, push out the boundaries and just jump in. It is so important for women to champion business ideas. Believe in yourself and give it a go.”