Jo Hook designs lives. A trained NLP Practitioner, Jo Hook is a small business mentor and life designer. She got into the business of helping people when she was pregnant with her daughter while at the helm of owning a rag trade empire. At the time Jo had four stores, 22 staff, production, manufacturing and design deadlines to manage, as well as everything else that comes with running your own business. She knew, with a baby on the way, she had to rethink how she operated the most important business of all: her life.
Shifting gears, Jo originally started offering communications, strategic and organisational solutions to those she knew in the fashion industry. These days she works with individuals and small businesses of varying backgrounds in a similar sense, by offering them clarity, problem solving solutions and the confidence to trust their choices and chase what they want in life. Jo often sees that change is possible when we are stuck in a rut, and assists her clients in making change a reality.
Jo’s flair for organisation and coordination extends to her shoe collection. Jo says there’s a place for both heels and flats in her wardrobe and that she rarely throws shoes out, because just like in life, with the right attitude there’s always room to adapt and see things from a new perspective.
What was the first pair of shoes you remember owning as a kid, and why did you love them?
A pair of black patent leather Mary Janes. I loved them because they were so shiny and obviously for special occasions. I must have been about four when I had them and I would wear them with a little straw handbag with fake fruit on top (so NOT matching!) that made me feel like a little princess.
What pair of shoes are you still lusting over from childhood?
Tap shoes and the talent to use them! I always wanted to learn how to tap and I loved Shirley Temple so I had tap envy. I always thought that if I was given tap shoes I would have just been magically able to use them. I did ballet and calisthenics as a kid and the shoes were boring by comparison.
What do you think your current shoe collection says about you?
Probably that I like soft leather and like to make a subtle statement. I like to move fast and feel comfortable but haven’t ever given up on heels to dance and feel sexy.
What is your all time favourite pair of shoes?
I bought a pair of pale blue and lemon plaited court shoes from Santini e Dominici in the late ‘80s from their shop in Rome and they were so wonderful and different to everything around then. They were soft, so comfortable to wear, and went well with the very first pair of paper bag denims I bought in Amsterdam.
The age-old debate: heels or flats?
Both! I can’t work in flats, they just don’t feel right. I think I am in a different state of mind when I wear flats as opposed to heels, even though I had have had glam versions of both. In heels I feel I can access my magician powerful self! However, I also love flats because I like to move fast and walk very quickly (ahem, run!), and flats are perfect for speed and practicality.
What has been your biggest splurge on shoes?
Some brown suede Fendi brogues that I still own and a pair of black and tan cowboy boots from London with leather so soft it felt like butter. They cost 500 pounds in the ‘80s, oops!
Where’s the best place your shoes have taken you?
Down the aisle in a 12th century derelict Abbey in Paris where I got married 12 years ago. The stone walls echoed with Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’. The wedding was intimate and attended by my beautiful daughter and eight of our closest friends who’d generously made the trip. I felt like I was in a surreal cloud like space, or maybe even heaven.
Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?
Some in and some out. I lust after those clear boxes that protect them and help you to see what is in them but they take up too much space. I’d love a walk-in-shoedrobe!
What type of shoe would you never been seen in?
Ugg boots, moccasins and Crocs!
What’s your biggest shoe regret?
I lost a pair of jade green nubuck platforms from the ‘40s that I bought from a vintage store. I adored them and used to plan outfits from the shoe up with them.
Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?
If you were a pair of shoes what would you look like?
If I was a shoe I’d be the perfect blend of gorgeous, sexy and stunningly wonderful to wear I hope. I would be handmade with love and consideration and my colour and heels would adapt to match whatever I was wearing!
How many pairs of shoes is too many?
You can never have too many! That’s a bit of a sore point, as I have way too many and they are scattered in cupboards and stored, as I find it very hard to let go of them.
Finish this sentence: Whatever happened to the Old Lady who lived in a shoe…
She decided to turn her shoe into a cabaret theatre and held some major drag events that rocked the whole village! What was she thinking with all those kids?!
To find out more about Jo Hook Solutions visit her website here, and follow her on Instagram.
Jo chooses habbot’s Biscotti to get her from A to B in style and comfort.