The inspiration behind the Seven Boot Lane label
Mais Edwards and her husband Sebastian started SBL in 2013. Born in the beautiful, rugged, mountain region of Andalucia in Southern Spain, Mais has called Somerset her home for 13 years - growing both her family and business in the heart of the quintessentially English landscape of the Mendip Hills. As well as being the Director of a successful, independent footwear label, Mais is also mother to three young children. We speak to Mais about the inspiration behind Seven Boot Lane, what her working day looks like and how she unwinds at the weekends.
What inspired you to start your own footwear label?
With a shared passion for quality and craftsmanship, alongside experience in both the marketing and footwear industries, we were well set up to venture into our own footwear label. We saw a need for beautiful boots all year round, especially in the UK, and wanted to make collections of investment pieces with a modern, feminine aesthetic at an accessible price level that offered the best quality. A luxury brand that was within peoples reach.
Our first collection was based on the spirit of ‘Wanderlust’, a desire to explore, travel and discover. It was created in the heart of the Somerset countryside, near the beautiful English City of Wells. The inspiration for our logo is actually taken from the stonework of Wells Cathedral.
How do you make slow fashion work?
We believe that it is best to buy good quality, well made, investment pieces that will last in style and in quality. I make sure that everything goes together in my wardrobe so that it is easy to put simple looks together quickly.
What does the future hold for SBL?
We want to retain our independent, boutique integrity by continuing to make our collections in small quantities alongside limited edition styles that our customers love.
A Day in the life of Mais
6:30am: First thing in the morning I like to go for a run- there are some lovely country routes nearby that are perfect. I am back in time to do the school and nursery run. Then, if all goes to plan, I have time for a good breakfast of fresh eggs on spelt toast, with a cup of tea before heading to the office.
9:30am: The office is a converted barn on an old dairy farm, with Glastonbury Tor in the distance. My days are always different as we have several seasons on the go at any one time. Our customers are always the number one priority of the day; we want our customers to feel that their experience of shopping with us is one that they enjoy.
11am: The rest of my day is usually taken up with meetings and planning; this can involve anything from new season schedules to marketing strategies and any operational issues that arise.
I make regular trips to the factory in Spain, especially during the design process for the new season; these are usually short and very busy. Our factory used to be a cowboy boot manufacturer so we utilise their traditional skills and incorporate some western elements into all of our styles in either the cut, shape, heel or detailing.
1pm: During the day I have plenty of fruit and water, maybe a decaf coffee or herbal tea and lunch is usually something light.
3pm: My working afternoon revolves around the office, the school and nursery runs, being able to work remotely is a definite advantage.
5pm: At home in the evenings, family suppers are important; seafood Paella is always a firm favourite.
9pm: At the end of the day, when all is quiet, I love to take time to read.
What were you doing before Seven Boot Lane came along?
I was running my own Marketing & Events agency in Spain - I like organising big parties! I also worked as a volunteer on marketing campaigns for the charity DEBRA Spain, which we continue to support.
What advice would you give to young women getting into business?
The first steps require you to be determined and take courage. Make sure that it is something creative and something that you really love. It has to be fun!
What motivates you to get through challenges that come your way?
Love. A passion.
Once you have created something very special you become emotionally attached and this gives you the drive to make it succeed. I love the customer’s feedback, we get so many lovely comments, it is always very rewarding - especially as a small business. We care about where our shoes are made and the people who make them and we are proud to offer limited collections, with every pair meticulously handcrafted and hand finished.
What is your greatest achievement?
Life’s Little Luxuries
What is your luxury?
Books, I’m currently reading ‘A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Solzhenitsyn
When are you happiest?
When I am with my family and my horse, Alshama.
Where are your favourite spots in England and Spain to chill out?
England - The murmuration of starlings in Somerset is an amazing sight and right on our doorstep.
The Oyster Shack in Bantham is a very relaxed and special place for seafood - it can be an adventure to get there, depending
on the tide.
Spain - Granada Hotel Bobadillia is an amazing hotel but quite expensive; we economise by eating in the local village restaurant, Salinas. The floor is covered in paper napkins and toothpicks and there are legs of Jamon Serrano dangling above your head, but they do the most amazing home cooked Spanish food. You can happily eat and drink there for about 5 euros a head.
Hurricane Hotel Beach restaurant in Tarifa on the Atlantic coast does amazing, local, line caught tuna. This is where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Enjoy the moment.