Thursday 26 May 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Shaherazad Umbreen, Founder of 18 Hour Heels

Meet Shaherazad Umbreen the Designer and Founder behind The "18 hour heel" shoe Brand, created to empower women with shoes that take them painlessly from day through to evening.

Shaherazad Umbreen

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
My day is all about discovering ways to make women and girls happy. This is in many different ways such as:

· Designing new shoe styles

· Designing new "shoellery" (jewellery for shoes)

· Finding projects to support women and girls through our profit share scheme. Currently we’re working on 5 projects on 4 countries

· Creating social media content

· Understand my customers and the markets in which they live

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I’ve seen many women work long days in painful heels and there’s no need for this. With the right heel architecture, a woman can work a full day and not be in pain! So that’s where the idea for empowering heels came about. I also wanted the shoes to transform into something sparkly for the evening, so I invented my "shoellery" concept to go with the shoes. And finally, I knew the business would be even more fulfilling if a chunk of the profits went to support the education of women and girls living in poverty. So, in essence, empowered women who buy my shoes are directly empowering others to follow in their footsteps. I strongly believe that when a woman lifts up another woman the world becomes a stronger place to be.


What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Helping 200 women to gain an education through the profits of the shoes I have sold so far. It’s so amazing to see the difference education cam make in allowing women to take charge of their own lives.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Product Development! It took me two years to develop the 18 hour heel. It’s all in the maths! As a result I have developed the world’s first 18 hour heels. Pain free all day.

What are your future plans for the business?
The designs have been very popular in the UK and I’m now looking to expand into Qatar, Kuwait and UAE. The women I can support, the happier I will be. My target for the business this year is to support 1000 women to gain an education who are currently living in poverty.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Remember to stop being in a rush all of the time. Developing a great business takes time.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Women have such a huge impact on Society as a whole and yet are so often held back. We have so far to go yet in achieving gender equality that it’s really important to get more young women to believe that they can be the drivers of change.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
If you can dream it, then you can do it. Go for it and “turn your can’t into cans and your dreams into plans”.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
My mum. Her name is Zurren and she’s a focused business woman and has always broken the boundaries in terms of her thinking. She made me believe that I can do anything. In turn she inspires me to cheerlead other women. My “women empowering women” philosophy comes from her.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
It’s one of my own which I always live by:


Shaherazad Umbreen

@18hourheels (Twitter / Instagram )

Shoes by Shaherazad (Facebook)

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