GIRL BOSSES OF GREAT BRITAIN: TALKING SHOES & BOYFRIENDS WITH SNOWY LI OF S.NOVIO
On a chilly London eve, we head to Bob Bob Ricard to have a glamorous sit down dinner with Snowy Li of S.Novio. A woman of undeniable style and taste, it is no wonder that Snowy has created the perfect shoe brand for the stylish and goal-getting women of today – S.Novio.
Taking its name from the latin word for boyfriend “Novio”, S.Novio is a shoe brand for women that shares the qualities of an ideal boyfriend — warm, protective, and most importantly comfortable. With a pair of high cut S.Novio boots in tow, you are ready to take on the world in style. Snowy herself, is a businesswoman first and a designer second; and is a true embodiment of Girl Boss goals. She understands the need for stylish wardrobe staples that not only transition from day to night, but also season to season. With a good pair of S.Novio shoes, who needs a boyfriend? According to Snowy, she would have both. Why? – because she can.
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How did you get into fashion design?
I grew up with a mixture of both Asian and Western influences. Having studied and spent most of my life in the UK and coming from a traditional Chinese background, I have had exposure to both cultures. I feel very blessed that through my business I am able to seamlessly bring together both Eastern and Western influences.
From a young age I was always a creative and energetic child, who was full of curiosity – I always loved fashion and had a passion for style. Most of my family work in traditional business, so it would have been a natural step for me to progress into something like finance. Alternatively, I decided to start my own fashion production company instead of working for someone else – I would organise fashion shoots for Chinese magazines and helped Chinese brands shoot abroad and built it from there. Although I really enjoyed travelling, working with beautiful people and even more beautiful clothes, I didn’t always feel completely satisfied. A part of my brain was craving for projects that involved numbers, contracts, statistics and spreadsheets.
Ever since I can remember, I have always been surrounded by business-minded people and I guess, that’s what had sparked by interest in creating a start-up. I found myself wanting to dive in, head first. At this point, I had left fashion and went into finance. However, my passion for managing a company never faded away and years later I founded a luxury shoe brand, S.Novio.
2. What inspired you to start S.Novio, what is the philosophy of your brand?
I am always on the move; I have reached a point where I travel up to four times a week. Naturally, travelling to a variety of countries comes with the burden of selecting the appropriate clothing. I love looking smart during the day; and I always try to dress up to go out for dinners when I am in a foreign country.
I think the philosophy of the brand is embodying a love for shoes which are comfortable, elegant and chic enough to wear for day and night. I wanted to create a brand for independent women like me, helping them look chic while pursuing their dreams. ‘Novio’ in the latin language means boyfriend; I want our S.Novio women to feel warmth, protection, and comfort in our shoes just like they would in a boyfriend. I want them to feel that a good pair of S.Novio shoes is just as good as a boyfriend.
3. In your opinion, how important is a good pair of shoes to a woman’s wardrobe?
In my opinion, shoes and bags show good quality and taste. I believe it is easier to wear a pair of good quality shoes with high street clothing, however it is more difficult to do the opposite. A good pair of shoes is not a good investment — it’s a great one. A good pair of S.Novio over the knee boots is the perfect wardrobe staple.
4. What do you think sets S.Novio apart from other independent shoe brands out there?
We have very strong focus and work ethic. We are not a shoe brand that has limitless styles to offer — we want our customers to come to us for a particular style… the S.Novio style!
For autumn/winter we have focused on creating the best quality over-the-knee boot in the market, which we believe is a definite wardrobe staple. As for spring/summer, we want to have more sparkle and bring out the feminine & glamorous side of the brand. We aim to continue producing a few signature staples every year — which usually are either flat shoes, or easy-to-walk–in heels. For example, we have created gladiator style sandals for spring/summer made with Swarovski Crystals, a new spin on a classic.
5. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a businesswoman and a designer?
I consider myself as more of a businesswoman than a designer. I think the biggest challenge is managing the business as a whole – I’m still learning and I’m loving the process! I would say my biggest challenge is what makes me out-do myself.
6. Finally, what would you rather have — a good pair of shoes or a good boyfriend?
I would have both, just because I can!