By Meghan Cass
Marcia Kilgore knows what it means to mix brains with beauty.
The 41-year old Canadian entrepreneur is the creator and boss lady behind cult shoe brand FitFlop, but it was her background as beauty mogul that inspired the revolutionary toning line.
Marcia (pronounced mar-SEE-ah) broke into the wellness business as a personal trainer and freelance facialist before founding Bliss, a chain of hip high-end spas that ignited the day spa craze in the 1990s. Next she went on to launch Soap & Glory, a line of affordable cosmetics, in 2007.
That same year, at an industry cellulite conference (really!) the idea for FitFlops struck.
“I realized we have no free time. We want a workout while we walk,” she says. ”What we girls really need is something like a flip-flop that tones and trims our legs while we run errands.”
FitFlops was born!
In addition to running two companies (she sold her shares of Bliss in 2004), Marcia is a married mother of two and a master multi-tasker full of practical advice. (“If your legs aren’t ready for summer quite yet, try a spray tan to give the illusion of sculpted legs and a healthy glow,” she confides.)
She recently caught up with Comfortista from her home base in London to share some of her lifestyle secrets.
Comfortista: What is your favorite style from the spring collection?
Marcia Kilgore: My favourite style this season is the simple, stylish, wear-everywhere, classic leather two-bar Gogh slide sandal. With organic lines, it is cool, ultra-comfy, bohemian chic. Wear with rolled-up jeans and a t-shirt (or turtleneck), with a miniskirt or shorts, or pair with classic-cut slacks. Wardrobe meet workout!
Comfortista: Is there a style that you cannot live without?
MK: I am fortunate to trial every single style we release, but I do have my favourites. They include the classic Walkstar III thong (they look hot with jeans and are so light on your feet) and our new espadrille-inspired Lollas. They scream summer.
Comfortista: FitFlop has been fully embraced by the high-fashion crowd. How did you manage to make it a toning shoe so appealing to style-conscious women?
MK: I wanted to create something that that kept you and your wardrobe in shape. With the help of an incredible design team, we are on the pulse with seasonal trends and colours. It’s amazing that in 4 years, we have evolved from a summer sandal to a 365 day a year, multi-occasion brand now available for men, women and kids. We’ve got workplace to weekend well-covered.
Comfortista: How do you describe your personal style?
MK: I love Katherine Hepburn because she always looked powerful and confident. But I also love designers Rei Kawakubo [of Comme des Garçons] and Dries Van Noten because they wouldn’t be caught dressing a woman like a bimbo. I like clothes that are beautifully designed as objects that you just happen to wear on your body.
Comfortista: What is the key to balancing your busy lifestyle?
MK: As a mum of two young boys, time with my family is very important so I make it a point to devote the evenings to my family and not bring work home. I’m always looking for innovative ways to multi-task, whether it’s walking home in the evening because I didn’t have time for the gym that day or drafting copy for a new product launch in flight.
Comfortista: As a former personal trainer, what do you do to stay in shape? (Besides wear your FitFlops, of course!)
MK: Two or three times a week, I put my four year old son in a ‘baby backpack’ (which I’ve been doing since he was 8 months old and I’ve now rigged up to accommodate his length) and walk around with him for 3-4 miles. We talk about things he sees, what he’s observed, run errands, whatever. It gives us time together as a mum and son, and burns more calories than military boot camp. I’m about efficiency. If I can get two things done at once and one of them is burning a calorie – you can count me in. I also love to do Bikram yoga.
Comfortista: What is next for you and FitFlop?
MK: I am very excited about the fall 2011 collection. I’m trialing a pair of our winter Shuv style right now too, and may I just say: mark your calendars, girls, they are glorious!
Have you tried FitFlops yet? Check out FootSmart’s great selection here.