Happy anniversary to me!

It’s my one year anniversary with Sarenza today. Before working here I had been a graduate for the last year and had worked various part time jobs, internships and had spent the summer working out of a burger van on the festival circuit. Oh how times have changed!

A whole year has passed since I walked into the office as a slightly intimated British girl, who had moved to Paris two days before and was slightly overwhelmed by it and whose fluency in French stretched to ordering a glass (ok bottle) of Bordeaux red.

Today I am still the girl who finds Paris overwhelming and there are days when my grammatical French is largely questionable, but in the last year if I have learnt anything, it’s about shoes… (and a tiny bit about Sarenza too!)  and whilst I’m taking a trip down nostalgia lane I thought I’d share a few pearls of my wisdom:

Give an English girl a beer and she will run for anything.

My favourite Sarenza memory to date is last year’s High Heel Race. It was a cold, cold day in December and snow had disrupted the whole of England and France, meaning the Eurostar was four hours late.  When our runners finally got to the hotel, they had ten minutes to get changed, get their make up on and get on the running tracks, with no food and no real organisation as to what they were doing.  I don’t know whether it was the alcohol from free bar or the delirium from lack of food, but despite all the setbacks, our English girls just embraced the madness, gave the French a massive run for their money and had the most fun in the process. The energy was incredible and even though the Frenchies scooped the first prize, I think all 16 of our British runners were the real winners!

The track, where the magic happened

The track, where the magic happened

Team Fab Frocks on Foot including Reena and Tor, two of our blogger ambassadors

Team Fab Frocks on Foot including Reena and Tor, two of our blogger ambassadors

Parisian women live, breathe and probably die in heels.

I can’t count the number of times we have said this in our blog, but it honestly never ceases to amaze me just how many Parisian women wear high heels on a daily basis, whether it’s on their way to work, out socialising, shopping, walking their obligatory if not slightly stereotypical poodles or even exercising. Ok I made that last one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if right now, somewhere in Paris there is a lady in heels on a treadmill as I write. The thing that always has me in awe is that they always pull it off with a real sense of sophistication, no flats in the bag, or staggered walking for these pillars of chic society, no matter what the outfit or occasions these ladies look great and walk with pride. I am now convinced that it’s a module in high school and am desperate to take a course myself.

Even when sitting these girls know how to work their heels

Even when sitting these girls know how to work their heels

A pair of shoes can change your life.

Ok there is some slight poetic exaggeration there, but honestly, I worked in retail for six years before I came to Sarenza and I have never seen such adoration for any item of clothing more than I have for shoes. For many women (and men I should add) a pretty pair of shoes is like a piece of art.  Whether they are a pair of heels to make your legs longer, trainers to pound the streets whilst you run or a pair of ballet pumps to capture some girly charm, shoes seems to give some sense of empowerment that I think no other item of clothing or accessory can.

Shoes can be life changing!

Shoes can be life changing!

Work friends can be the family you choose

(I so very nearly went to say shoes, but not even I could live with such a cheesy pun.) Before I started working here I had visions of the office being full of snooty women in high couture and chauvinistic men who took three hour lunch breaks. (I blame the heavily French stereotypes we are fed in films) What I got, in reality was the complete opposite. Sarenza is a really young and happy place to work and everyone’s always there whether you need help at work, a sympathetic ear, or just want to coo over the latest collection of shoes that have arrived. (No, I’m not being paid to say this, although management if you’re reading I do accept cheques.)

Me and my Sarenza homies at a Mad Men inspired work function

Me and my Sarenza homies at a Mad Men inspired work function

Flying the flag at the High Heel Race with my friend Ryad, one of Sarenza's finest web designers :)

Flying the flag at the High Heel Race with my friend Ryad, one of Sarenza's finest web designers!

Since I stepped in a whole year ago, slightly lost and intimidated, I have been adopted by everyone as the slightly quirky British girl who’s humour I’m not sure they still completely understand.  It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but Sarenza has been like my surrogate family, so whilst I’m on a bit of a nostalgic mood, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for being so lovely, most of all to Simon, our former UK Manager who took a chance on me and gave me a job in the first place, and of course to Anneca and Eleanor. Every day coming into the office has been like coming into work with two best friends and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer team to enjoy my Parisian adventures with.  :)

My UK ladies

My UK ladies




  1. #1 Anneca:

    Aaaaw <3 this post it brings back so many good memories…

  2. #2 Simon:

    This high heel race was a-ma-zing. so much free champagne, so much fun :)


  3. #3 Eleanor:

    Can we take part in the high heel race this year?! I reckon we’ve got it in the bag, I was quite the young athlete in my youth ;) . Lovely blog post Hazel. xxx

  4. #4 Ada:

    aww I’m starting to well up…I think its great that Sarenza is putting a human face on online shoe shopping. Keep up the good work!

  5. #5 Hazel Marie:

    @Ada -

    Thank you so much! We really enjoy writing the blog, so it’s always nice when people give us nice feedback

    @Eleanor – you know I want to say that us taking part is cheating, but last year Anneca had to fill in, when one of the runners couldn’t compete. Still, maybe we should open it to the public, we get to have fun in Paris as it is!

  6. #6 Rochelle:

    OMG!! LOVE IT! This has made me laugh and almost cry! what a journey and i love the way u hav taken us with you every step of the way! cheers to many more yrs with Sarenza and many more beautiful shoes!

  7. #7 Ryad:

    We should make a movie based on that article ;) I miss you Hazel !! Love from the other side of the world ;)

  8. #8 Justin:

    That’s a genius idea for a wonderfully heart warming blog post Ryad! It would be heart wrenching at times but generally a feel good film. “sometimes you just have to… explore!” Thats the films tag line right there! good times :)

    Here’s to you Hazel!


  9. #9 Reena:

    Happy anniversary, Hazel! Looks and sounds like you’ve had a fab time over the past year. Love our Alice in Wonderland pic xxxx

  10. #10 Rosa:

    hahaha @Ryad, that is so funny it has actually made me laugh out loud.
    A coming of age story methinks.
    When a girl embarks on the journey of a lifetime…she realises it can only be done when wearing the right shoes!!!
    cue puns about setting foot, and feet on the ground.
    gimme half an hour i’ll have your narrative arc, emotional beats and copy for press lol.

  11. #11 Momma:

    Glad you are having so much fun, Hazey. Your sarenza friends have been wonderful and I couldn’t have given you up for a year to anyone less. Miss you lots, Honey, but know that you are in good hands. Loved the shoes I got from sarenza and I get compliments when I wear them. Kisses.

  12. Pingback: Sarenza.co.uk the blog – Learning to walk in heels




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