The Sandal Souq’s range of handmade sandals are undoubtedly the essential footwear of the fast approaching Summer season – beautifully made, oh so comfortable, versatile and a touch of sparkle – Saffron Souk is in shoe heaven!
Join us for a chat with Emma and find out a little about her and her must-have sandals…
1. And here they are…Emma’s current range of sandals. Get yours at The Sandal Souq!
What sort of products do you market?
I am the agent for Palmera Sandals in the UAE and the Middle East.
The Abarca is the traditional shoe of Menorca, the 2nd largest island in the Balearics. They were originally made from cattle fur and old tyres, but time and popularity have produced the sandal we recognise today.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I only started in November last year. I was back in London last summer and bought my eldest daughter Phoebe a pair of silver glitter Palmera Sandals. I was so impressed at how versatile they were, she was wearing them to the beach, the park, riding her bike she literally lived in them. They wore so well and still looked stunning. I contacted the owners of Palmera Sandals (sisters Tracey and Lisa) about bringing them to Dubai and as it turns out I went to school with them and the rest is history.
What’s the best thing about setting up your own brand?
The girls at Palmera Sandals have given me carte blance to be as creative as I like in terms of what leathers and finishes I stock. There is so much choice the sky really is the limit. I really like the idea of the multi glitter sandals with a candy pink back strap…watch this space.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Keeping up with the demand. The current collection has proven very popular, in the first couple of months I kept running out of stock so now I have shipments coming from Menorca every couple of weeks.
1. You can find Emma promoting The Sandal Souq at some of Dubai’s weekend markets but if you’re not sure where to find her, you can shop her online boutique 2. A order packaged up and ready to walk out the door!
What do you love about selling online?
As Dubai is such a cosmopolitan place and my clients are from all over the world, it’s great that they can recommend my sandals to their family and friends back home and I can service them via my online shop at the Saffron Souk.
Where do you source your materials?
We source only the softest napa leather, nubucks, and suedes from Spain and Italy to bring even greater comfort to our sandals.
What sets your products apart?
Many imitations exist, but the authentic Abarca has to be made using traditional manufacturing methods and produced on the island of Menorca.
In order to protect the identity of the true Abarca, the local government (Consell Insular) and the shoemaker association (Asociación de Fabricantes de Calzado de Menorca) have developed the sign Product of Menorca, which will appear on only genuine Menorcan sandals.
1. You’ll find the beautiful Balearic Islands off the Spanish coast, east of Valencia. All the shoe-making magic takes places on the island of Menorca 2. Each of The Sandal Souq’s sandals is authenticated so you can make a purchase knowing you’re getting the genuine article
Tell us 5 words to describe yourself.
Loyal, scatty, fun, happy and honest.
What’s your favourite film?
I really love all the movies from my childhood, Grease, Karate Kid, Back to the Future. The kids are really loving the eighties classics. Goonies is the next one for Movie night.
What are you reading right now?
Tons of Inside Out magazines, a friend kindly lent them to me. We are currently decorating/renovating our villa so I’m constantly looking for inspiration.
When did you last laugh?
Just now at my son Max who accidentally on purpose fell into the pool with his school uniform on.
What keeps you awake at night?
One of our three kids usually elbowing my husband or me in the back.
Any exciting news to share?
I’ve got some great designs coming this way in the not so distant future. Studded leather and a new bright faux snakeskin range…here’s a sneak peak!
1. The new season studded sandals – exciting! 2. Current season sandals in gold… 3. leopard print… 4. and silver glitter
Do you have any regrets?
I wish I’d tried harder at school instead of trying to fit in with the cool gang.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My feet. Luckily my sandals cover up the bad bits.
What’s your favourite colour?
Do you like girl groups or boy bands?
Both but especially One Direction, I hope they come to Dubai soon. Luckily I can use my 7 year old daughter Phoebe as an excuse to go!
Who would you most like to meet?
Harry Styles from One Direction!!
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
My kids, they would freak out!
1. Some of Emma’s favourites, her three children Phoebe, Max and Edie… 2. And the gorgeous and always stylish Harry Styles from 1D…are those sandals he’s wearing?
Do you have a motto?
What goes around come around. And to treat others as you wish to be treated.
Did you ever run away from home as a child?
Yes but I was back again before my parents noticed.
What is your golden rule?
A nice firm handshake, I can’t stand limp wet fish handshakes.
Who is the best super-hero? Superman, Batman or Spiderman?
According to Max my 4.5 year old son Batman because he’s way cooler than Superman and Spiderman.
What is the oddest habit you will admit to?
I’m a terrible hoarder, luckily I am getting better as all the places we’ve lived in Dubai don’t seem to have enough storage.
What is your greatest aim in life?
To have a happy home.
What are your 5 favourite finds from the Saffron Souk market?
2 birds, I recently bought a dress and a pair of their lovely trousers. I love all of their stuff especially their gorgeous Turkish towels.
I love all of the products on Sixpence Wedding Design. My sister is getting married next year and I’m going to gift her the Mia Garter. My next purchase is most definitely going to be an Arabian Nights Macramè Bracelet from Eastern Treasures.
1. Some more of Emma’s favourite things…a dress from 2birds, bracelet from Eastern Treasures and rings from House of Jekoya…you just need a pair of sandals to top of the outfit, Emma! These handmade paper and button craft artworks are from Barnaby’s Buttons and the garter is from Sixpence Wedding Design
Thanks for the chat, Emma. We can’t wait to checkout your new season range and get our feet in to a pair of those studded sandals!
Post Blog post Note:
The Sandal Souq have taken the leap and opened their own website recently. However you can shop for the most gorgeous sandals at www.aelia.saffronsouk.com and www.lapeshta.saffronsouk.com on the Saffron Souk market…so remember, you can never own too many pairs of shoes, can you?