THE ELLA SHOES STORY IS A LOVE STORY.
Shoes have always been a part of Jorge Rodriguez’s life. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, his father was a local shoe manufacturer and made a business of importing European brands, particularly from Spain. Jorge became involved in the family business at the age of 14, learning about shoemaking at school and beginning his career, like so many successful entrepreneurs do, mopping the floors! From there, he went on to college in Santo Domingo where he studied business. Following his graduation, he was promoted manager where he embraced the custom of his country and mastered the art of bargaining with customers. He was well on his way towards a future in his family’s department store business with his passion for shoes and business-savvy mind.
Jenny Rodriguez was born in Cuba, but she moved to the Dominican Republic in her early teens. Growing up, she too, worked with her family’s business, where she learned the technical skills and business instincts that drive her today.
Jenny and Jorge met in college and became quick friends. However, it was a pair of shoes (we know, it sounds too good to be true, but it is!) that started this love story. Jenny needed a new pair of work shoes and Jorge gave her a pair as a gift; Spanish Pedro Miralles sling-backs, or as she calls them “all-terrain high-heels.” Jenny can be seen sporting them to this day!
Married in 1996, Jenny and Jorge fell in love with Canada’s West coast while honeymooning in Jasper and Banff. In 2009, they emigrated to Canada with their four children who now call Vancouver home. As they began looking at local business opportunities they immediately saw a need for affordable fashion choices in quality footwear. New to Canada, Jorge took a position with a local shoe retailer to learn English and earn experience working with Canadian customers, which quickly blossomed into the venture we know as Ella Shoes.
In 2010, Ella Shoes opened its flagship location on South Granville Street and in August 2014, it’s second location at Metropolis, Metrotown opened. Jorge and Jenny are excited to bring share charm of the extraordinary, hand crafted European shoes with the city of Vancouver.
Ella shoes is a family business through and through. Jenny and Jorge are often in-store working with their team to choose the freshest fashions from Spain, Germany, France, Portugal.