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Prepare to get really jealous. Courtney Coll is Topshop's resident shoe specialist whose job requirements include knowing what shoes are hot, helping arrange and merchandise shoes in Topshop's second-floor shoe salon, and generally, being surrounded by ultra-chic shoes all day. Oh, and she's only 19 years old.
We spoke to Coll about the difference between LA and Chicago shoppers, where she finds shoe inspiration and her very favorite pair of boots.
How did you get this job?
"I opened the Chicago Topshop, which was a year or two ago, so I started working with clothing. Then I moved to the shoe department in Chicago. They asked me if I wanted to come and help open the LA store and become the specialist here."
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
"I run the shoe department, I merchandize the floor and I make sure we're meeting our sales goals. We're also building a client base in LA, and learning what styles LA shoppers are looking for. Trends are constantly changing so not only do I have to be knowledgeable about our product, but also the product around us."
How long have you been with Topshop overall?
"It's been about two years now. Before, well, I'm 19 years old so I started in high school. I was going to the Art Institute of Chicago. I literally moved to LA two months ago, I'm very new to California."
How do stay informed about what's cool in shoes?
"We're researching daily. We are always looking at runways. We also have studio services and personal shopping here, and I team up with them a lot because we have so many TV show characters wearing our clothing and shoes. They know what's going on, so we all connect to get the best product in."
In your short time in LA, what shoes have you found the most popular?
"One of our biggest shoes right now is the Gwenda, which is a pointy-toe, not-super-high heel. They come in a lot of different colors like coral, wine, sky blue, white and silver. That's one of our must-haves right now.
Metallic heels are in, bright colors, strappy, chunky wood blocks. And as far as boots are concerned, [we're seeing] a ton of cut-outs. The style here is way different because of the weather. In Chicago, when women are looking for heels they're usually looking for a bootie. They're not looking for something super-strappy, whereas here you can wear a strappy heel all the time. The clientele is way different, too. In Chicago, you are working with a midwest shopper. You have to push style onto the Chicago customer while here, they know what they want and that's what they're going to get."
Where do you go in the city for shoe inspiration?
"Melrose Trading Post, I'm always there. I recently went to the Rose Bowl which was really cool. I haven't been able to go out too much, though, because I've been working all the time. I see the craziest stuff on Melrose Avenue, in Hollywood, even at the beach in Venice."
What are the most popular recent styles that stand out to you?
"There are two. When we first opened, the biggest shoe was the Paige. It's a cowboy boot with gold detailing. It's amazing, it's my favorite boot by far [ed note: there are a few left at the Grove store].
The other is the Rover, a strappy all-black chunky sandal with a mirror-effect silver heel. It also came in a black-and-white tweed which everyone loved."
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