Idealog Pitch Circus entrant wants to make high heels that won't kill your feet

At Idealog’s recent Pitch Circus we gave new entrepreneur Rebekah Craig from Mbuba three minutes and 33 seconds to sell her idea about making comfortable high heeled shoes. This is what she told us.

Q: Comfortable high heels? Yeah right.

A: Strange but true. When people think about comfortable shoes they think of Hush Puppies or Kumfz, and don’t think they can also be stylish. Mbuba shoes look like any other fashionable shoe but are highly structured and cater to specific areas of foot pain. There is a maths to it. 

How did the idea come about?

The idea came from me trying to solve my own problem. I like to wear high heels and I was fed up with getting up in the morning and selecting an outfit that goes with my sensible yet boring work shoes, instead of being able to wear stylish shoes and pick clothes to match. Wearing high heels can also be really damaging to your feet, hips and back. I did some research and this clearly is an issue that a lot of women have. 

Often you assume that the more expensive the shoe is, the more comfotable it will be, but I have worn expensive Italian leather heels and been in agony all day. 

It's bizarre: we can put people on the moon but we can’t make comfortable fashion shoes. 

What is your market?

Our target is 25–40 year olds. They’re more career-driven, more sociable, more active.They are always on the go and don’t have time to be slowed down by uncomfortable high heels. 

What is the next step?

We are working towards releasing our autumn-winter collection next year and towards a partnership with retailers, establishing a supply chain. Our goal is to become established as a go-to brand for functional and fashionable shoes. We want to expand into children’s shoes and possibly men’s shoes as well, and that is part of our five-year plan. 

What help do you need?

First, retailers willing to pre order our shoes. Second, funding and investors initially for about $100,000-$200,000. I’d be looking to spend it on marketing and advertising, and also to scale up and make Mbuba an international brand.

I’m currently looking into Spark investors, ArcAngels, and Callaghan Innovation. I am also applying for help through the AMP Scholarships programme and Ora Dreams.

Where can people buy the shoes?

A limited edition of snakeskin ankle boots are available online at mbuba.co.nz. This is a pre-launch taster for people who have heard about us. 

To compete in the next Idealog Pitch Circus event get in touch with us at editor@idealog.co.nz. If your idea is chosen, you will need to prepare a 3.33 minute presentation about your business idea and why you deserve the Pitch Circus prize package. Winners get featured in Idealog magazine, and receive cash, a package of business and IP advice and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.