By Hope Katz Gibbs
Be Inkandescent Magazine
As a teen growing up in Miami, Xiomara Arroyo developed a passion for shoes.
Not just any shoes, but the fantastically sexy kind, with sky-high heels, vibrant colors, and interesting textures that are common in Latin-infused South Florida.
So it was only fitting that she founded her own high-end footwear company, Xiomara Lisette, which is quickly becoming one of the hottest fashion firms in the Magic City.
“We create chic shoes that appeal to the glamorous side of every woman,” Arroyo explains, noting that her role models have always been the strong, passionate, and colorful women in her family—women who embrace fun fashion and live life to the fullest. (Her cousin, in fact, models the shoes for her firm, and is featured in the photo pictured above). “I design my shoes for them, because I know they want to feel sexy and stylish, but they also want to be comfortable. That’s the formula for every shoe that I design.”
Another inspiration, she says, is her husband of eight years—Celtics basketball player Carlos Arroyo, formerly of the Miami Heat.
“He is incredibly supportive, and really loves my company,” says Arroyo, noting that Carlos is her go-to person when it comes to making tough business decisions. “He is very hands-on in everything he does, whether it is an endorsement or a summer camp that he’s sponsoring. So he’s always happy to look at a sketch I’m working on, and help me review my new line of designs. He also hands out my business cards to women he thinks might like the shoes, which is really cute. And, he is constantly telling me how proud he is. I feel very lucky.”
The idea to start the company, in fact, came to Arroyo when she, her husband, and then 3-year-old daughter were living in Israel, while the veteran point guard was playing for the Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“Designing shoes is something I can do wherever we are—whether it’s in Tel Aviv, Boston, or Miami, on an airplane, or sitting on the sofa after my kids go to sleep,” she says. “It’s the perfect fit for our life, because family comes first. My vision has never been to open a shoe shop, but to design a collection that women will seek out in stores all over the world.”
She’s on her way to accomplishing that goal. With her shoes currently in nearly a dozen shops, she also sells them on her website for $98 to $110.
She has several styles in her current collection, including the Gaby (which comes in ivory, violet, and black), the Xiomi Twist (in ivory, mimosa yellow, and black), the Tabby (in oatmeal, majestic blue, and black), the Clara Wedge (in pink, brown, and ivory), and the Prissy Wedge (which are flower prints that come in brown, green, and purple).
Her favorite design, the Sophie Platform, are sexy stilettos that come in brown, shimmer linen, and a flower print.
In fact, just last week she received the shipment of her fall line, featuring the newest colors for fall: blue denim, flower prints, a shimmery linen in a vibrant green, a wedge in warm gold-brown, and a dark ivory.
Although those Sophies are frequently found on her feet, Arroyo admits to owning about 150 pairs of shoes. “I have a big closet. I love shoes. What can I say?”
While designing shoes remains her favorite aspect of her work, she knows the key to success will be sticking to her business plan, being patient, and never losing her focus on designing the kinds of shoes that her customers tell her they want. In fact, there is a new line of flats, which isn’t something Arroyo says she thought to design until dozens of women requested them.
“Women who buy my shoes crave high style, but they also insist on being comfortable,” she knows. “Because I am 5’-1”, I am always wearing high heels or platform wedges. So I feel the pain when my shoes are pretty, but hurt. That’s why I only design shoes that I can wear all the time.”
Have her kids caught the fashion bug?
“While my 7-month-old is obviously too young to have an opinion, my 5-year-old has her own mini-collection of adorable shoes, and she is constantly trying on mine,” Arroyo shares. “She tells me that she wants to help design a pair of her own, so who knows? Maybe she will one day. Or maybe we’ll start a line of children’s shoes. Once I get this line off the ground, I’d love to do that. After all, when you are dreaming big, the sky is the limit.”
For more information,” and to shop online for Arroyo’s sexy shoes, visit www.XiomaraLisette.com.