Where I work: OZ

Fol­low the cob­ble­stone road to the Granville Square shoe store’s stomp­ing grounds.

The Coast - - SHOPTALK - BY VAUGHN STAFFORD GRAY

WHAT SHE DOES

OZ is a won­der­land of women’s footwear, with brands like fash­ion go­tos Stu­art Weitz­man and Senso, and in-the-know ones like the Brazil­ian la­bel Schutz, that em­phat­i­cally show Gif­fin’s buy­ing prow­ess and cu­ra­to­rial eye. Her prod­uct of­fer­ing also in­cludes can­dles and per­sonal fra­grances by Mai­son Louis Marie, which has a cult-like fol­low­ing in fash­ion cir­cles. “When I was de­bat­ing the name I wanted one that en­cap­su­lated all my per­sonal ideals in­clud­ing style, fash­ion and in­te­rior design,” she says. “But how do you even name a baby?”

WHERE SHE DOES IT

This baby wasn’t re­ally planned. Gif­fin was en­joy­ing a ca­reer in fash­ion at For­eign Af­fair on Spring Gar­den, where she spent three suc­cess­ful years. “I re­ally en­joyed work­ing at a smaller re­tailer be­cause it’s more hands-on learn­ing and you’re ex­posed to all as­pects of the op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing, buy­ing, event plan­ning and client de­vel­op­ment,” she says. How­ever, she wanted to ap­pease her other creative side and study in­te­rior design. As soon as Gif­fin de­cided to leave For­eign Af­fair to fur­ther her ed­u­ca­tion, the his­toric space on Granville be­came avail­able. It was per­fect. And, as Bri­tish au­thor Alan Ben­nett once said, “Some­times there is no next time, no time-outs, no sec­ond chances. Some­times it’s now or never.” So, thanks to some gump­tion, she took the leap.

WHY IT WORKS

Armed with a deep un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple and things that im­pact their de­ci­sions—Gif­fin has an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in psy­chol­ogy—a knack for re­tail and a fa­ther who is an en­tre­pre­neur, she cre­ated a space that is “in­spired by the most iconic shoe of all time—Dorothy’s ruby slip­pers.”

“I wanted a mag­i­cal place, one where you can get trans­ported to,” say says, adding that she aims to “ap­peal to women who love travel and have dis­pos­able in­come.” This is just the be­gin­ning for Gif­fin, who opened OZ as a fairly nim­ble space. “The name is pur­posely gen­der neu­tral so that I can ex­pand whether it’s to men’s shoes or ap­parel,” she says. “This is just the start­ing point for me, the brand will con­tinue to grow and evolve.”

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