Jennifer Marks, designer and founder of shoe label Covet Shoes (pronounced kuh-vet) says while shoes are her clear passion, she also has a passion for supporting women, advocating kindness and inspiring others to lead a life they love.
Canadian born Jennifer tells us that her shoe love began in high school when she landed a job working in her first shoe shop. Her love was immediate and she continued working with shoes in different roles through University while completing a degree in Retail Management. After graduating and years working various positions in brand and marketing management in Canada and Australia, in 2017, she dreamed up Covet Shoes. Since launching in December 2018, Covet has already been showcased at Miami Swim week, has been worn by multiple influencers and has even been worn to the Logies & Brownlow Cup by Australian celebrities.
When we ask Jennifer why she loved shoes so much, she laughs: “Probably because they never made me feel fat and they always made me feel good!” Jennifer tells us that she wanted to make a fully wearable label which was fashionable, comfortable, feminine and effortless. The choice to carry simple silhouettes in neutral colours was completely inspired by her own lifestyle and wardrobe. She had spent years being surrounded by endless amounts of beautiful and unique shoes, but it was the classic favourites she always returned to.
Jennifer tells us that the other inspiration behind Covet was the desire to have a platform to bring women together, inspiring them to be kind to each other. She wanted a safe space for women to express themselves, feel good about themselves and love themselves. Ultimately to create a community where all women felt included. The Covet community is lovably called ‘COVETGIRLS’. Jennifer describes COVETGIRLS as the shoe-loving girl squad with a passion for supporting each other, advocating kindness and inspiring others to lead a life they love.
The decision for Covet to be vegan was an easy one for Jennifer. She has always loved animals, and knowing that globally over a billion animals are killed each year for the fashion industry, it felt like the only way. Vegan footwear is another way to express kindness and share love, plus she is happy to break down the stigma of what animal free fashion looks like.
Jennifer says the early days of Covet were scary and exciting. Even though Jennifer had spent almost 15 years in the footwear and fashion industry, she had never created a collection herself. When she finally found her first factory, there was an unexpected challenge. After completing designs, negotiations and agreements, the factory suddenly told her, with no explanation, that they would not make her shoes. Jennifer was devastated telling us that there were many tears and fears of failure. However, refusing to give up, Jennifer found two new factories willing to make her collection, using both to launch Covet.
Covet shoes attributes much of its success to not being bound by seasons or trends. Jennifer has a desire to slow down fashion and is proud of her philosophy of ‘beautiful shoes that have versatility and longevity.’ Creating a capsule collection means they’re wearable for years to come.
Like many entrepreneurs, Jennifer admits that she is constantly challenged by time. Wearing all the hats of all the roles within a business, leaves little time to spare. However, Jennifer always takes the time to celebrate any win – big or small. She advises new entrepreneurs to do the same. She also tells budding entrepreneurs to remember that there is no end result without the journey, so why not enjoy the ride?! Jennifer reflects on the transformation of Covet being just a dream to now, where it is her full-time job. She tells us that she couldn’t be happier with this result.
Jennifer is continuously driven by her COVETGIRL customers – some of whom have become good friends of hers. She is also driven by her family, friends and husband…and of course by her absolute love for shoes.
When we asked Jennifer what her ideal day would be, she describes a walk on the beach with her family and dog, and an outside brunch in the sun. And when we asked who her style icon was, she giggles and says: “Actually, I don’t have just one – I’m inspired by so many women!”