The Little Shoebox Designer Spotlight: Lee Reich & Nancy Geist of Butter Shoes

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The best shoes are flirty and fun and look fabulous – and they feel terrific, too. Lee Reich and Nancy Geist, the women behind the New York shoe brand Butter, understand this.

Geist and Reich’s shoes, which are available at The Little Shoebox in Ruxton, are lively and gorgeous. The shoes are made with Italian leather and manufactured in Italy. This, Reich says, is part of what makes them so great.

“We’re very loyal to producing in Italy,” she says. “We feel like the product in Italy and materials are what make our shoes. We came up with ‘Butter’ because all the leather feels like butter.”

Geist travels to Italy between four and six times each year (Reich used to go as frequently, but now stays stateside more often to spend time with her young child). “The ambiance and energy of Italy and the handmade nature of shoes and craftsmanship makes us very proud,” says Reich, explaining that seeing their designs come to life is immensely gratifying.  “To see them on paper in a sketch, pick out materials and then see them come to fruition is what makes us love them.”

Geist designs the shoes though the pair works closely together on each line. “Nancy is very technical,” Reich explains. “She’s been doing shoes since she was ten! She makes shoes and bows and plays with everything and comes back with the greatest ideas. We line build together, picking the best silhouettes and lines and colors of the season and translating those into what our customers will like.”

Butter customers  gravitate towards feminine silhouettes and styles, says Reich, but they also don’t want to sacrifice comfort for beauty. “We cater to a woman who wants to be feminine and comfortable at the same time,” she says. “We do a lot of kitten heels, which are sexy but wearable. They have a feminine look and we use fun materials – but you don’t have to kill yourself wearing them.”

Reich says she and Geist don’t just create the shoes – they are their own best customers. “We’re a company of women – that’s important,” says Reich. “We stick our feet in all the shoes.”

As this year winds down, the Butter team is looking ahead to Spring 2016, which will be all about mod designs, with influences from the seventies. “We have a cool mod buckle we’re doing – our own take on some of what we saw go down the runways,” says Reich. “We’re translating that into something classic for the Butter girl.”

Butter fans have a lot to cheer about, too: Reich and Geist are launching a second brand, Skylar Blake. “It’s more casual everyday wear,” says Reich. “Smoking slippers, driving moccasins, ballerinas. That’s what’s next – and it’s exciting.”

To shop Butter shoes – and more – visit The Little Shoebox at 7625 Bellona Avenue in Ruxton. For more information call 410-825-3191 or visit the Little Shoebox Facebook page.

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