For years women have tossed aside style for comfort as their feet swelled and changed during pregnancy, opting for flip flops over pumps. Thanks to Lowell native Claudia Espinola they don’t have to anymore.
In 2011, she founded Casa Coture, a company that designs and manufactures stylish, supportive and most important — expanding — shoes; the world’s first maternity footwear.
“In terms of aesthetics, our debut maternity collection is inspired by the simplicity and elegance of the modern day princess,” Espinola told ShoesTV. “A woman with a classic style, who is sophisticated yet understated. We always say our shoes are as effortlessly stylish and elegant as our customers. Kate Middleton and Audrey Hepburn embody our customer — both of whom are definitely my muses.”
On Monday March 4, Espinola will be the keynote speaker at the Lowell Women’s Week breakfast at Lenzi’s in Dracut.
Born in Argentina, Espinola and her family moved to Lowell when she was a child. She attended the City Magnet School, where she found her passion for business, running an after-school company as part of the school’s Micro-Society program.
She earned a dual degree in marketing and entrepreneurship from Northeastern University and spent 10 years working as a market research consultant for Fortune 500 companies before deciding to head to Milan, Italy to learn about designing and making shoes.
In 2011, Casa Coture was the winner of the Mass Challenge, the world’s largest global start-up and accelerator competition for high-growth, high-impact companies..
In addition to being an innovative businesswoman, Espinola is also a philanthropist who supports organizations that empower women and their families. Locally, she partners with American Mojo, a Lowell-based company that creates sustainable employment opportunities for single moms.
The Women’s Week breakfast will be held on Monday, March 4, at Lenzi’s, 810 Merrimack Avenue, Dracut, MA, from 7:30-9:00 AM. Jessica Wilson, Executive Director of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, Lowell’s public access TV and media center, will emcee the gathering which also honors the soon-to-be announced recipients of the 2013 Because of Her award. Tickets to this always-sold-out event are $25 and must be purchased in advance. For information on purchasing breakfast tickets and on Women’s Week events, visit www.lowellwomensweek.org.