Spotlight: Liz Page- Amenity Shoes
Her customers walk away happy.
When it comes to shoes, comfort typically means a sacrifice in style. Liz Page, owner of Amenity Shoes, is eager to show people that is not always true.
Page and her husband, Zaki Hafid, opened their Beaumont Village shop 10 years ago. “We focus on buying shoes that are stylish and comfortable with an emphasis on stylish,” she says. With the average pair running around $150, Page prides herself in the quality of their products. “After 10 years, we are awfully picky about the brands we carry,” she says. “We carry a lot of Portuguese shoes- they’re just made better.”
Page is from Kansas City, where she worked as a Metalsmith jeweler for eight years. After moving to Portland, she wanted to open a more permanent business- one that was tied to her jewelry. She considered everything from a gallery to a hair salon. “I don’t even cut hair,” she says.
It wasn’t until a local business owner mentioned the lack of a good neighborhood shoe store that Page considered the niche. “She really planted the seed and I went from there,” she says. Now she is able to sell shoes along with local artisan jewelry, scarves, hats, handbags and socks.
With her reputation for being fashionable, Page says her friends had no doubt in her impending success. In fact, she believes the store’s success can be attributed to her quirky taste which is perfectly suited in Portland. “I was always the black sheep of my town,” she says.
Browsing through the store’s shoes- cork heels, blue suede and leather ruffles- it’s easy to see why Amenity is so appreciated. “Portland ladies are active and on their feet- they need comfort and style,” she says. In particular, they have a dedicated following of teachers and hairdressers- professionals who are on their feet but still want to express individuality.
Amenity’s core mission can be traced back to personal experience for Page. As a kid, she had flat feet and was told to wear therapeutic shoes, but refused because they were so unsightly. “Had they been cute, I would have worn them and probably would be in better shape now,” she says. “We want to blend beautiful shoes with comfort- not one over the other.”
Page says the best part of her job is buying. “My eclectic taste makes it easy to buy- I like a lot of different things and I can purchase different looks,” she says. Most of the products at Amenity come from shoe shows in Las Vegas and San Francisco, but this year Page hopes to attend Micam, a prestigious shoe show in Milan.
She finds satisfaction in helping customers. “It’s so gratifying when people visit and walk away happy.” The times she can’t meet their needs are the most challenging, she says. “I try to do what I can to make the customer happy within reason, but sometimes people’s expectations of how long a shoe should last can be tricky.” With varying levels of wear and tear, feet and walking habits, the life of the shoe may vary. Regardless, Page wants her customers to see the value of investing in quality. “You will wear them more if they’re comfortable, they will last longer, and they’ll still look great.”
The next step for Amenity is to increase and improve its presence online. She is proud of the store’s space and atmosphere and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon.
Photos by Debbie McCann