by Shantella Y. Sherman
For New Pittsburgh Courier
(NNPA)—Toy Majola’s love for shoes started with the very first pair she ever owned. A Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa) native, Majola said that what separated her passion for shoes from others was her belief that shoes should be an extension of a woman’s personality.
|One of Majola’s works of art with custom heel designs.
“No matter how pretty the shoes my mother bought me, I always had her add some style to it like gluing on a button or some glitter. As a schoolgirl, I was known for my fashion-forward shoe styles,” Majola said.
Not surprising, Majola, 31, took her politics degree and a head for business and started ToyGal Shoes in 2007, a shoe design company that custom designs shoes from scratch. Majola said that being able to give women specifically what they need is crucial to her company.
“A lot of times women buy shoes that pinch here, or are too tight there, but I believe that a woman’s foot needs to be measured and the shape and contour of her foot used to design the perfect shoe for that woman. Otherwise, you have shoes that look great, but do great damage,” Majola said.
Among the problems Majola said women contend with are wearing shoes that are only comfortable when sitting or when worn for a few hours at a time. Majola said that substituting style for comfort should not be an option because there is no beautiful shoe worth the damage that it can do.
“Women are developing bone and tissue ailments related to squeezing their feet into narrow shoes. Sometimes, women will go up a size or two in order to get the width they need, but this also causes issues when their feet strike the ground. It pushes their balance off. ToyGal wants women to be able to wear those great looking shoes all day and still dance into the night with them, if they so choose,” Majola said.
Since the launch of ToyGal, a name derived from Majola’s first name and the added “gal” her mother fused to it when calling her, the shoe company has fitted the feet of some of Africa’s fashion savvy queens.
Majola’s shoes range in price from $108-$275, with custom designs priced slightly higher.
For now, the single mother, of an 18-month-old son, Nzulu, has partnered with the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition to ensure that ToyGal has an international capacity. Traveling to D.C., New York and Los Angeles, Majola said that she is certain her logo of a woman sitting atop the world, will soon come to fruition.
“No two women should have the same pair of shoes. In the same way that walking into a room and seeing your dress on two or three different women is upsetting, so too is seeing your shoes on another woman’s feet,” Majola said.
“ToyGal is singlehandedly bringing style, class and personal distinction to each and every pair of shoes we design.”
(For more information on ToyGal or to purchase shoes, visit www.toygalshoes.com.)