I love networking, and this blog makes me network even more as I try to find the best brands out there, that are really making the difference towards a more inclusive fashion industry.
In my networking adventures I found Elisa and her Coraggio Shoes shop on one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.
As we are stepping out of Milan Fashion Week, I thought the best thing to do would be talking about her and her shoes: the ones made for the tinier or bigger feet, those that usually brands do not consider (unless you want to wear sneakers every day of your life!)
Get inspired and add this shop on your list, if you are planning a trip to Desenzano, Lake Garda!
Who is Elisa?
I am a curious person and a doubt lover. I have more doubts than certainties as precisely these doubts push me forward and to look for new answers, while certainties are stale. I love doubts because they contain life.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a way to externally express one’s personality, being it individual or collective. Fashion is also communication, and allows one to travel the world by choosing the best way to feel at ease, everywhere.
You are the founder of Coraggio Shoes in Desenzano: an online and brick and mortar shop that sells smaller and bigger sizes shoes: how did this all start?
All this in terms of thought, was born already in my adolescence. When I was 14, I would wear a size 43 (Italian size) and finding the right pair of shoes, was already a big challenge; towards my 20s I started thinking about the possibility of opening a shop of my own, in order to be able to get in touch with the artisans myself and thus, have for myself and my potential customers, the shoes we always wanted.
But my life then took different directions and I became a photographer that until a couple of years ago, was my one and only business.
At 28, I decided to give it a try. To throw myself (as we say in Italian), to have Courage and finally try to make my dream come true: the dream of allowing people like me, who wear a special number, to dress in trend, quality and elegance.
I have always loved the quality of our made in Italy and craftmenship traditions: after a series of reflections and planning, the activity officially began exactly one year ago, with the opening of the online shop www.coraggioshoes.com offering women’s shoes in small and large sizes, from 32 to 36 and from 42 to 46 (Italian size).
In June 2020 I also opened the physical shop in Desenzano del Garda, the town where I was born.
What have been the greatest challenges you faced, since opening?
The biggest challenges I have faced since opening have been many. First of all, my total change of life. Since the age of 22 I have always worked as a photographer around Italy: I have lived in Rome, Milan and Florence. I worked mainly in the art sector and for me art has always been the basis of my life.
After 8 years, opening my own business in a sector I had no knowledge about, is still a very nice daily challenge to face. Learning things by doing them, this is my attitude. “You learn by making mistakes ” is the real truth! Learning is beautiful while passion and commitment must always be the basis of what we do.
Your collections are accessible in fitting and prices: what is your main target and where do you sell?
My main goal is to allow those who wear sizes outside the classic footwear production, to dress to their own taste and style: I try to satisfy every single request, listening to every style need. Craftsmanship and made in Italy are two very important values for me, and it is of fundamental importance to offer the highest quality possible. Through my online shop I sell in Italy and throughout Europe.
Do you also sell shoes for women with feet problems (different sizes from right to left, single shoes or hallux valgus)?
Having recently started the business, I still cannot satisfy all these needs, but am writing down all the requests and looking for artisans who can help satisfy any needs may come my way.
How do you choose your collections and where do the designers come from?
I keep myself updated with trends and follow fashion shows and events; I also follow my instinct a lot and keep all my designers strictly Italian.
What have been the greatest achievements so far?
Every person who enters the store or buys online is a great success for me! Having the trust and satisfaction of every single person, makes me feel grateful for life and for the commitment and love that I put into what I do every day. I always believe that great successes are achieved in small steps, and every small step must be celebrated.
Any unique stories to share with us?
I have a dear friend, Valentina, she loves to write and lives far from me, precisely for this reason we have always loved to write emails to chat. Some time ago I picked up some emails from 2018, when the idea of opening this shop was just a … distant idea. I was writing about my dream, my intentions, “I dream of opening a women’s shoe shop in large and small sizes” . Rereading those emails now, and knowing that I really have a shop and have managed to make my dream come true is incredible!
I’ve always been convinced that thoughts truly shape our reality. We really are, what we think. We should remind us of this every single day.
What is your message to the fashion industry?
My message follows what has been happening in the fashion industry lately: PLEASE INCLUDE! Including diversity and unhinging the concept of beauty is something that is push me a lot lately. For years, we’ve thought true beauty was the cover model, perfect, flawless, unreal or very rare beauty. Now, on the other hand, we are really understanding that it is precisely the “defects” (from a standard perspective) that are at the center of true beauty. It’s crazy if you think!
Future plans or desires?
Desires many, many desires always. The strongest desire at the moment is to ensure that this activity is able to take root, allowing me to open a shop in a bigger city and finally return to a dynamic dimension made of broader stimuli and contamination. I want to get in touch with more and more women with the same love for shoes, no matter the size they wear. I also want to keep on waking up every day in love with what I do.
I am excited with all that is coming my way and the new things I will have to learn!
And we are too!
Learn more about Coraggio Shoes here: