Exclusive: Interview With Shoe Designer Nelissa Hilman

The secret to the success of this local shoe brand? Achieving the perfect marriage between comfort and style. Find out more from the designer herself!

By Rina Ahmad | April 3, 2017

How did you make the courageous jump to being an entrepreneur and starting your own business?

I started my career in the corporate world for about five years before deciding to pursue something more creative – and stumbled upon a shoe making course in Polimoda, Florence. I returned home and worked in a local shoe atelier for about a year before starting the brand, late 2012. It started out as a passionate project before having proper business structure – which was put in placed about 2 to 3 years ago.

What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?

I believe a good shoe starts with a well-constructed shoe form – this is the very foundation. Driven by deep appreciation and understanding of the shoe making disciplines, we are committed to producing Nelissa Hilman, and always hand crafted in the best possible way. Since our inception, the Nelissa Hilman leather range are made consciously, utilising dead-stock leather derived from luxury Italian factories. Each pair are proudly designed and hand crafted locally – part of our brand’s commitment to revive/reinvent the shoe making industry in Malaysia.

What style of shoe that every woman should own or at least wear once?

A woman should own an elegant pointy pumps for work and events that matches with everything, a go-to dependable low block heel sandal for any occasion, a loafer/ballet flats and slip-on sandal for everyday wear and to run around in, and of course sneakers.

What style of shoes do you like?

My go-to are my Duma loafer leather flats and the Alya cross-over sandal for everyday wear.

What has been your career highlight?

There has been many.¬†Mainly seeing how the NH team has grown since the very beginning (in strength and in numbers) and perhaps the opening of our very first store this August. We’ve also been very fortunate to work with talented creatives and amazing brands through various partnership and collaboration, one we do not intend to stop, but nurture and grow.

Is social media important to your brand?

It’s a platform where we communicate and share our vision, the essence and collection, the behind the scenes and also the team, having a conversation between us and a larger set of audience and sometimes to test what works and what doesn’t.

Since starting your brand, what have you learned about your customers?

We are thankful for our customers and we have grown with them throughout the years. We’re constantly learning and pushing for better products, always anticipating their needs and constantly reinventing conversation and connection between us and the customers.

Who would you like to wear your shoes?

Strong, confident women on-the-go. Also, Kate Middleton.

What’s the must have shoe for 2017?

The NH Classic 100 pumps, the knotted denim low-block heel, our crossover sandals and our Duma loafers flats.

Nelissa Hilman shoes are available here.


Sera mule, RM179


Nadia sandals, RM169


Norah mule, RM189


Classic 100 Pointy Pump, RM490

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