Butter was born when designer Nancy Geist and business partner, Lee Riech recognized
a void in the shoe market for flirty, feminine designs. Since its debut in 2007,
Butter’s recipe for success has evolved from the perfect peep-toe pump to
chic, collectible skimmers and flats. Devout followers of Butter praise the line
for its wearable styles and impeccable, of-the-moment details. Geist and Riech are
dedicated to creating timeless shoes that can be reimagined each season, while still
maintaining the unbeatable quality and perfect fit that has made Butter such a smooth
For someone who makes her living designing shoes, Nancy Geist has surprisingly few
of her own. The reason why? Her passion-fueled perfectionism. “I walk into
a shoe store and I say ‘that shoe is great, but I would change this and I
would change that,’” she says. A student of sculpture at the Art Institute
of Chicago, Geist’s eye is well trained to pick up on even the most subtle
of details. This goes hand in hand with the design aesthetic inherent in her most
recent line, Butter, the brainchild of Geist and longtime business partner and friend
Lee Riech. Originally vintage-inspired, Butter has evolved into a flirty, feminine
line inspired by Hollywood, but made for everyday glamour.
The contrast between
Geist’s personality and the creations that emerge from it are what make the
Butter line so fascinating. Outside her Fashion Ave studio, Geist lives a life eclectic.
A garden enthusiast with a love of rock and roll, she teases that she has a “rowdy
music collection to beat that of any teenage boy.” Yet Geist, like every other
woman, has a profound love for all things femme, and Butter designs are a tribute
to that aspect of the female spirit. Geist is a no-frills gal whose inner diva emerges
in her frilled-up, ruffled-up designs.
The design process itself is streamlined
by Riech, who helps Geist transform her visions into the über-feminine creations
that they are. Riech also heads up the sales-end of the line. “Lee is a people
person, whereas I just want to create things” Geist explains. The result is
a yin-and-yang relationship that has made Butter the success that it is.
the line truly unique, however, is the fit. Geist really looks hard to achieve the
perfect shape and proportions in her shoes. “My shoes always look better on
the foot,” she says, and the proof is in the pudding as, once slipped on,
each shoe appears to have that perfect Cinderella effect.
living in such a darling time anymore,” Geist explains. “There isn’t
a car waiting for us every time we go out and sometimes we need to run in our heels.”
Butter reflects this modernized approach to fashion that demands a shoe be both
functional and fabulous.