If the shoes ain’t right, nothing is right!

Carrie Bradshaw once said, “The fact is, sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun“. Who knows a woman who can resist a great pair of shoes? We don’t! We are thrilled to feature tragen, the brainchild of Caroline Chagas as part of our creative women entrepreneurs this week. DO NOT miss a chance to win a pair of Black And Bronze Arezzo Stiletto Pump valued at AUD $250 following the post.

1. Define tragen as a brand – what is it about and who does it target?
tragen lies between high street and designer shoe fashion. It offers moderately priced premium designs for professional women who have a distinguished taste in fashion and style. The tragen woman is a global citizen, confident and smart. She demands quality in every aspect of her life, it be in real estate, food, travel and leisure. She wants more and to an extent, she deserves it! The tragen woman is versatile, going from desk to dinner and her wardrobe adapts to that lifestyle.

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LH Agenda award-winning collections

2. What was your inspiration to start up tragen?
tragen was a light-bulb moment. I was dissatisfied with my previous position as Marketing and PR Manager and I wanted to take a break from the corporate world and build my own business. I’m from Brazil originally and while reading a fashion blog, I came across the most beautiful pair of rose gold sandals! Naturally, I asked my mother to bring me a pair since she was due to visit me. I remembered my various shoes that always get compliments – all by the same brand – and thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce premium footwear to Australian women. With some experience working in fashion (coupled with years experience buying shoes!), I knew the opportunity existed and it was a matter of making it happen.

3. What are the 3 main lessons you’ve learnt about starting up a business?
– Surround yourself with knowledgeable people. You can’t know everything. Don’t skimp on a good lawyer, accountant and financial planner!

– Accept help! I have trouble accepting “free” help and advice but I have learned that there are genuine people out there who want to see you succeed and it doesn’t always come with an agenda.

– Have someone to snap you out of it! It’s a business, it’s a new business, it has more downs than ups in the beginning. You need to stay focused and motivated not to give up. tragen has been in business for less than two months and just last week I had a little meltdown thinking this was the single biggest mistake I’ve made – my mother came to the rescue!

4. What are the 3 main things you are doing to promote Tragen?
– A combination of paid advertising and publicity. Advertising in mediums where the tragen women are active to get the brand name out there and drive traffic to the website.

– I have worked in fashion before so I sent a press kit and a few pairs of shoes to key professional media. Gifting can work for a business, you want to reach the people who follow those you’ve gifted.

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– Building brand opportunities with like-minded companies can go a long way, it’s about building trust and loyalty and for a new brand, that’s a challenge because you have no previous history. Co-creating campaigns that are unique and innovative build brand equity. We are currently working with selected brands in the lifestyle sector – stay tuned!

Control your money is the best advice I ever received

5. What is the best advice you’ve received?
Control your money. I was never one to keep budgets or receipts and I owe this and many other pieces of sound advice to my mother. I reviewed my account and consequently I now keep all receipts and do a monthly reconciliation on all expenses in categories.

6. What is your best tip for start-ups?
Recognise the opportunity – everyone can have a great idea, but they may not be real opportunities. Conduct research, ask professionals in your network for their advice and feedback and most importantly, have an exit strategy. You don’t go into business thinking the worst, but you have to be prepared. Get your business/service/product in the hands of the right people. Word of mouth goes a long way and it’s the most trusted source of referral. Stay true to your business mission, live and breath it. Consistency!

7. Your best tip for doing business in Latin America?
Understand the local culture, that goes for any company that conducts business abroad. I have the advantage of the language though no fluency. Brazil has a laid back approach to work and it can be frustrating to wait for your emails to be replied to, but it pays off to be on their good side. Generally speaking, Brazilians are quite informal and friendly, so getting down to business can be a lengthy process! I would recommend making a trip your chosen overseas market to understand the culture and really learn about the people.


Giveaway-Tragen-ShoesTo win a pair of Black And Bronze Arezzo Stiletto Pump valued at $250 simply answer the question in the entry form below. The competition is open to residents of Australia who are 18+ and fans (or became a fan) of Leaders in Heels and Tragen on Facebook. Simply fill out and follow the form below (point 1 and 2 will unlock the entry question). Sizes available 36-40.

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tragen is an official distributor of Arezzo, the largest women’s footwear retailer in Brazil with over 300 stores.
Arezzo has been in business since 1972 and they outsource production to various factories in the Southern region of Brazil, near the border with Argentina. As a brand, tragen has a strong corporate social responsibility, our suppliers employ safe work environments and pay a decent wage to their employees. tragen does not support exploitation or slavery of any kind and our brand partners are recognised for their industry practices.