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To “do one thing well” is an oft-repeated phrase when it comes to business advice. For Amanda Greeley, that one thing is loafers. She’s quick to acknowledge that making loafers doesn’t reinvent the fashion wheel, but rather aimed to create a brand of go-to, every-damn-day shoes for a woman who is, as her website puts it “very much herself.”
The result is Thelma, which currently is composed of six colors of one style of loafer, ranging from a neutral tan to a flaming orange-red.
Thelma is Greeley’s second business venture after leaving a merchandising job at Coach; her first was a line of pajamas called Tink & Tiger, which made it to the pages of Vogue before she ceased operations about two years ago.
Around this time, Greeley decamped to Charleston, South Carolina. A few months later, she got to work on Thelma full-time, which went live in October 2016. In the south, she’s found it easier to focus her attention on a classic, not-super-trend-driven product.
In the year since founding Thelma, Greeley hasn’t grown weary of loafers. “I’ve always loved good shoes — less so the ornate stilettos that only make sense on a handful of occasions, but the ones that can be an everyday luxury,” she says. It’s amazing how a pair of well-made shoes can elevate an otherwise casual outfit.”
Greeley feels that women’s loafers have a tendency to become “too conservative, and lack attitude.” Greeley saw the kinds of well-made, long-lasting shoes in the men’s market, but didn’t see the same quality replicated for women. “I envy men for being able to purchase certain pieces, knowing they will be relevant for many years,” she says.
And so she set out to put her own spin on the classic shoe, giving it a 1.5-inch stacked heel carved from solid wood, which makes each pair unique based on the characteristics of the wood. “My favorite thing about this shoe is the wooden heel,” says Greeley. “I love the wood because it adds visual interest and makes the shoe more durable.”
The shoes are high-quality: Each pair is handmade in a small factory on the Adriatic Sea. The price for one pair is $378, and though that’s by no means inexpensive, Greeley remains emphatic that her shoes are meant and made for daily wear and tear.
Eventually, Thelma will branch out from just loafers, though not too far. Next up look for more colors, and then an iteration of another classic: the driving shoe.