Shoe therapy


Anna Winkelmolen &
Vivian Ros
Sales forecast 2017:
Not announced

By: Reinilde van Ekris
Image: Femque Schook

As a little girl, shoes always fascinated Anna Winkelmolen. They have a special effect on her mood. She feels there is no better medicine for a listless and unattractive feeling than putting on a pair of heels. They make the legs longer, tighten the calf muscles, while giving you an elegant and gracefully confident posture. At least, if you have the perfect pair. And it is not so easy to find them…

“I was looking for pretty basics, but there was always something that I wanted to change,” she says. She gets the idea to set up a self-adhesive label, each pair being customizable. “For sneakers, it was already possible, so why not with heels?” In the evening and in addition to her work as a sales backoffice coordinator at G-Star, Winkelmolen works out her idea. It takes another four years until label ANNA van MILLS was launched.

From the color of the heel and material of the shoe to the shape of the nose and heel, every detail is customizable. The online configurator allows 45 thousand different combinations.

The entire ANNA van MILLS collection is handcrafted in Italy. Each pair costs between 239 and 299 euros.

Manageable choices consumer

Sparring partner
Early this year, Anna’s girlfriend Vivian Ros joined the company. Although there are already some investors involved in the concept, Winkelmolen missed a sparring partner. “I did not want to operate alone anymore. Vivian also has a background in marketing and that closely matches our future plans.”

Manageable choices consumer
The first results of their cooperation will be visible this fall/winter by a renewed strategy. Winkelmolen en Ros believe that the 45 thousand possibilities are somewhat overwhelming for consumers.

“We are going to guide them through the design process. For example, they should first complete a step before they can go to the next.”

Reducing our prices

New Strategy
In addition, the online platform will provide more inspiration and will be more interactive. Think about blogs, chat, sharing experiences from other customers and style guides, as well as collaborations with other online parties through affiliate marketing, for example.

“The biggest change is our price reduction,” says Winkelmolen. A pair of custom costs between 169 and 270 euros depending on the options chosen. Thus, the concept hopes to widen a broader market. “That means we’re getting less margin,” she acknowledges. “We hope to compensate that by higher volumes and higher turnover rates.”

Offline visibility
Once it’s going well and the company is more capital-intensive, it’s time for their next ambition to explore the offline world. Their pop up store at the Haarlemmerdijk in Amsterdam was a success.

Working with retailers through a shop-in-shop or by providing a standard collection also seems interesting. “With the pop up store, we noticed that an omnichannel approach works very well for our concept. Consumers want to see and feel the shoes. And once they wear them, they are hooked.”

I was looking for pretty basics, but there was always something that I wanted to change. Anna