Welcome back to Meet Your Tall Sisters! Today we have a special guest with us, an inspiring tall woman who took her large feet and love of gorgeous heels to create RAYO, a luxury footwear company that offers sizes UK 7 (US 9) and higher. Ladies, meet your Tall Sister Paula. We’d give anything to look at her sketchbook!
What is your full name?
Paula Oyinkansola Motunrayo Macaulay.
How tall are you?
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
My parents are originally from Nigeria, but I was born and raised in the UK which is where I currently live.
What was your career before you decided to start RAYO?
Before I decided to start RAYO, I was studying law at university. I currently work as a Marketing Assistant as well as running RAYO.
Tell us the story of how you decided to start your own shoe company.
I feel like everyone that starts a footwear company aimed at women with larger feet starts in a similar way…the struggle to find nice shoes that fit! Being a UK size 9 (US 11), I have always struggled to find shoes I love that fit, and when I started getting more into fashion in my second year of uni, the frustration to find stylish shoes escalated even more. It seemed like the logical thing for me to do, to start a footwear company for women that are fashion savvy who have the same struggle, especially as my long term goal was always to eventually go into business for myself.
Growing up with feet bigger than all the other girls was always something I felt really embarrassed about, especially at school, so another thing that I aim to achieve with RAYO is to break the stigma and the feeling of embarrassment amongst women with larger feet because the size of your feet is something you can’t control or change so why not just embrace it and STRUT WITH STRENGTH AND DIGNITY!
What inspires you in creating your designs?
A lot of my designs are inspired by the things I see on a daily basis. More often than not, I see someone wearing a pair of shoes that I like but I always think, “Ooh those would look so good with this or that or if this wasn’t there” and if I have a pen, I’ll find something to write on and quickly scribble the design down before I forget. I like quirky things as well so I like to take classics and add a twist to them.
Who is the woman that needs a pair of RAYO shoes? Who are you targeting with this brand?
Any woman that wears a UK size 7+ (US 9+) that loves fashion, shoes and feeling confident about themselves.
What is your favorite shoe in the line?
I love ALL of the shoes in my line because they’re literally the manifestation of my dreams, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would definitely be Rayone Blue because not only are they one of the first ever Rayo shoes made, but they’re just beautiful. They’re such a statement piece and they’re super girly and I have to admit, I love anything that’s girly.
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you like to do for yourself?
A typical weekday for me starts at about 5.30am because I always like to either go to the gym or go running before work (I go before because I know for a fact I’m not going anywhere after). Before leaving the house, I grab breakfast and play with Boo (my Shih Tzu). Then it’s a day of work as a Marketing Assistant after the gym. After work (or during my lunch break) is usually when the RAYO fun starts. I check all my emails, reply to any messages and do research/any work related to the launch of the business. I always aim to get to bed around 9ish because I love my sleep, but this isn’t always a possibility.
I’ve actually really started enjoying going to the gym and I also read a lot. Whenever I get a spare moment, I whip out a book to read. I love a book with a good bit of romance, but I also want to try and finish 100 books to read in your lifetime (like Denzel in The Equalizer haha).
Tell us about your journey to self-acceptance and embracing your height.
I’ve never been a shy person so I was never overly insecure about my height. I did go through a phase where I thought I was too tall to wear heels, but when I was 16, I made friends with a girl the same height as me that rocked heels to school like it was nothing. That made my own confidence skyrocket. I feel like as I’ve gotten older I’ve just become more confident as a person because I care less and less about what people think of me. In my opinion, if you live your life to please other people you can never be truly happy because you can never please all people all the time.
Do you have any parting words of advice for our Tall Sisters who might be struggling with their confidence?
If you aim to live a life that isn’t based on what other people think of you, you’ll be amazed at how much your confidence will skyrocket. At the end of the day, you’re the one that is living your life, so why not enjoy it the way you want to enjoy it?
Wow! Thanks for sharing your vision and motivation, Paula! To learn more about Paula’s brand RAYO and peek her latest shoe offerings, visit https://rayo.co.uk/. For updates and even more inspiration to live by, follow RAYO on Instagram and Facebook.