So much has been said about the 'Meghan' effect. And, while it may seem like Meghan Markle wearing a pair of Sarah Flint's shoes launched her label, behind the scenes, however, it’s taken years of toil for her to get her business up and running.
It's not just the Duchess of Sussex whose feet are continually shod in her heels as her shoes also caught the eye of supermodel Cindy Crawford who became an early investor. From then on the momentum grew as celebrities including Amal Clooney, Blake Lively, Scarlett Johansson - and even Lady Gaga have been seen striding around her in heels.
The 30-year-old New Yorker tells Grazia: 'It’s really been a mix of people finding the brand organically, friends of friends telling each other and stylists even reaching out to me on Instagram'.
When it comes to Meghan, 37, Sarah remains thoroughly discreet. Meghan has worn Sarah Flint since her days on the TV show Suits - and Sarah says she is naturally 'thrilled' by the new Royal’s support.
'I think any designer would have such a huge sense of pride, for sure', she says. Indeed, Meghan plumped for Sarah’s Perfect Pump in black on her first official solo outing with Queen Elizabeth on June 14.
The wife of Prince Harry wore Sarah Flint shoes more than 20 times in public before her May wedding, but the outing with Her Majesty was the first time she donned the designer as a newly-minted Royal - and the $355 (£272) shoe became so popular it was released in two new colours - and will be re-released this month after becoming sold out.
Sarah spent two years designing the shoes to include not just a beautiful, foot-flattering cut but also maximum arch support, memory foam inserts and a steel stiletto.
Meghan has also been seen in Sarah’s Natalie flats on a number of occasions, including her first official appearance with Prince Harry, at the Toronto Invictus Games in 2017. And she was clad in Sarah’s Sophia Boots on her first unofficial appearance with Harry, on a date in London in December 2016.
The Duchess is especially fond of the black suede Jay pumps, which she’s worn several times for formal engagements like the dawn Anzac Day service at London’s Wellington Arch in April. She’s also been spotted in the Lily flats and Grear sandal too.
But Sarah - whose slogan is ‘Walk Like a Woman’ - stresses that she’s not just designing for her celebrity clients. 'I want to make shoes for every woman. Nobody was focusing on the kind of shoes that women want to wear in their everyday lives and I had to figure out how to do that', she confides. 'And this has been really the most exciting part - seeing celebrities wearing my shoes in their regular lives, not just on a red carpet, which can be a very transactional experience. '
Amal Clooney wore her Emma pumps to the UN - and then walking around New York with George Clooney. And, she's not the only celebrity that's integrated Flint's shoes into their off-carpet wardrobe. 'I must admit I was pretty surprised to see Lady Gaga - she’s normally in those huge platforms! She wore the Perfect Pump in the black 100 mm twice in one week while running around New York, and I loved the looks she wore them with - she looked incredibly chic and beautiful', she says, 'These are women who have access to everything and it just feels incredible to me that they’re wearing my shoes.'
Flint was just 25 when she launched her very first shoe collection - and only 24 when she moved to Milan to work under the tutelage of Italian master cobblers. The 30-year-old New Yorker laughs as she tells Grazia: 'I was 24 when I went to the Italian factories. I look young now, but I looked even younger then, so they didn’t pay so much attention to me!' However, she caveats, 'as the orders grew for my collection, then they took me seriously.' Now her business has grown to have eight full-time employees, with more due to be hired by the end of the year.
After establishing her name at high-end department stores, including Bloomingdales and Barney’s, Sarah changed her business model to sell her shoes direct to consumer, which makes the price no longer extortionate.
She says: 'As the brand grew and we became more recognized, I thought "what is the future of the luxury industry and how can I reach the most people possible?" All my friends were shopping online and I thought "direct to consumer has worked for mattresses and glasses, why can’t it work for shoes?!"
'It was a huge, scary step. We cancelled all the orders and cut our prices in half to sell at wholesale, so a shoe that was $700 is now $345. And we got an amazing response - all the customers were so excited to get that level of quality for that price'.
This brave, modern business model has allowed Sarah to plan for the future. While she says she is 'super-focused' on winning at footwear down the road, however, says she would love to break into bags, small leather goods and even home goods. In other words, watch this space