The Sole Proprietors: Sassanova Duo
BY MOLLY KNIGHT RASKIN
Confused about how to wear oxfords, the trendy lace-up shoe inspired by classic men’s footwear? Or about what to pair with ankle booties? If so, Sarah Cannova and Sassy Jacobs, co-owners of the upscale Georgetown boutique Sassanova, have the answers you seek.
“We know DC women are stylish, but they don’t always fully realize it,” says Cannova. “We’re here, in part, to help them actualize their inner fashionista.”
It was the city’s untapped fashion potential that the pair sought to harness when they opened Sassanova as a fashion-forward shoe store on Wisconsin Avenue almost a decade ago. Their instinct and hard work have paid off: Since launching the first boutique in tony Book Hill, they’ve opened other locations in Bethesda and Baltimore, even adding jewelry and clothing to their offerings. Most recently, the power duo entered the e-commerce market with the soft launch of a virtual store.
Despite the trials of an economic downturn and the demands of motherhood, Cannova and Jacobs have maintained Sassanova’s status as a destination for the District’s fashionable set. “We’ve definitely been challenged,” Cannova says. “But we’ve kept up with the changing landscape by knowing our customer and interpreting trends in a tasteful way.”
It’s this personal touch and their knowledge of what works in Washington, they say, that keeps their customers coming through the door. “We keep our finger on the pulse,” says Jacobs. “And we cater to that woman who wants to be chic but not trendy.”
There’s no question that Cannova and Jacobs understand the complex relationship between women and their shoes. That keen knowledge has a ttracted the attention of Emmy-winning television producer Colby Gaines, who tapped the designing duo for a reality television show (currently being shopped to various networks). Given the less-than-stellar track record of Washington’s reality shows—Real Housewives of DC, Blond Charity Mafia, et al—could the savvy pair be the city’s saving grace? Cannova and Jacobs say they would love to raise DC’s profile with a smash hit—but only if the show spotlights their professional lives, not their personal ones. Filming the pilot, they said, was much more demanding than they anticipated. “It will have to be worth the effort,” admits Cannova.
For now the two women remain focused on their evolving business and several exciting new items for fall, including a must-have See by Chloé shoe collection. And no matter the look, Sassanova’s owners say they can be counted on to cater to the discerning women of Washington. “We can’t be everything to everyone,” says Cannova. “But we try to be a little bit of something to everyone.”
photography by sebastian marin
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.