Baltimore native, Jazmin Veney, is stepping into style with her luxury footwear brand, ARCH NYC. Graduating from the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, better known as LIM College, in 2016 Veney began her journey in the industry by maneuvering her way through the Fashion Marketing field. Taking her love for fashion, and the fact that the industry lacked representation in many fields, the ARCH NYC brand was born.
Created in 2018 in her Harlem apartment, the focus was to fill the space of stylish footwear at an affordable price for every woman. ARCH NYC’s mission is to celebrate women through curated capsules of quality, conversation and footwear. Veney discusses herself and the ARCH brand.
Q: When did you transition from Baltimore to NYC?
A: I was 18 when I left for college and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. I considered college in Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia and Ohio but I have never regretted going to New York instead. I didn’t truly explore my creativity or even realize how I could expand on it until I left for the city. I’m family oriented so I cried because I don’t like being away from my parents and brother, but I’ve never missed a holiday and they were super supportive of my move.
Q: Can you describe the ARCH woman?
A: The ARCH woman is so cool: she is forever evolving and trying to be her best self. A true creative, with a passion for her field (whether it’s fashion, beauty, law, journalism, etc.). She is 25 to 45 living in a large, active city. She enjoys quality merchandise and doesn’t mind paying for long-lasting products. She’s serious about her friends, her self-care, and her aesthetically pleasing Instagram page. Most importantly, she’s a fashion girl, with great taste and wants a shopping experience that makes her feel exclusive and catered to.
Q: What sets ARCH aside from other footwear brands?
A: Often you see, in the industry, cute shoes that are inexpensive and not great quality or shoes that are cute, amazing quality and will take your entire paycheck. I make shoes for women who are elevating their wardrobes, looking for pieces that are timeless, great quality but affordable who want a luxury experience. We fill the space of not compromising quality or style for budget and vice versa.
Q: Describe your creative process.
A: I spend a lot of time screenshotting things off of the internet. I’m inspired by colors, textures, energy, or any shape that I want to include in my collection. I think a lot about how I want the customer to feel, where she’s going, and what she’s wearing when I am creatively planning. I also print things out and tape them on my walls, so I can see things in large photos, write on them, cut them up and re-interpret how I would use them. I also love to walk around the city and shopping areas (pre-COVID) to see what my customer is looking at, shopping, buying and really loving at the moment.
Q: Walk us through the process of creating a shoe.
A: In short, after you figure out the inspiration for your design, a sketch of the product needs to be created. After the sketch is complete, a tech pack needs to be made that includes the specs, materials, details, colors and more to inform your factory of how you want this design to come to life. Materials, fabrics, and shoe laces need to be sourced and then the sampling process with your factory takes place. After two to three rounds of sampling to perfect the style before moving into bulk production, details and changes need to be finalized and then a production order can be placed. Way easier said than done, but that’s an overview of the process. Typically one shoe should take about 12-18 months to be developed, produced and delivered, but we live in a time where expedition is key so we’ve seen processes be shortened and fast tracked to eight months. Currently, I am working on an eight-month schedule, but aiming to work on a 12-18 month schedule to improve and ensure quality and spend more time developing and trend researching.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your first shoe design?
A: I personally deem the SLING shoe from the newest collection my first real design. My favorite type of shoe is an open-toe stiletto and I wanted to create one that could be purchased in multiple colors and worn constantly. A key factor was also to include details that I could spot and immediately know they were an ARCH shoe. I don’t want it to be confused for another brand. A hero style that is always recognized and always in stock for our customers to shop and collect in all colors.
Q: Tell us a little about this new collection and the inspiration behind it.
A: Core Collection Chapter I, this is the first collection we dropped since COVID hit so it was a big deal. I look at it as our “re-introduction” collection. We dropped two new styles that will live on through the ARCH NYC franchise for quite some time. We are trying to establish longevity and brand recognition, so I was really inspired by adding details that stood out and that I didn’t already see out in the market. I wanted to create something that excited people and encouraged them to get outside after being on lockdown for so long.
Q: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment so far?
A: In the spring of 2021 I raised $20,000 for my brand with the help of my community through a crowdfunding campaign.
Q: What do you feel has been the biggest struggle during this process?
A: Finding factories that I can trust who also provide the highest quality and funding my business by myself without investors or partners.
Q: Aside from the ARCH BRAND, what is your favorite shoe in your closet right now?
A: When I wasn’t in heels this past summer, I lived in my Chloe Woody Logo sandals. So chic, they went with everything and I’m sad to be putting them away for the season.
Q: What’s your favorite shoe style?
A: My absolute favorite style of shoe is an open-toe, strappy-heeled sandal.
Q: What is one piece of advice you have for those thinking of starting their own shoe-design journey?
A: Plan, plan, plan. I jumped in head first and I don’t regret it, it speaks to a lot of my story with the brand, but I had to learn the hard way and I think some of my troubles could have been avoided if I planned a little bit better in the beginning.