For one former SAP employee, what might sound like a paradox is a new business model that she is bringing to life with an abundance of energy.

Jacqueline Yildirim worked in various customer-facing roles at SAP until 2016 and she knows from personal experience where the shoe pinches: “When you work closely with customers, you have to dress appropriately. For us ladies that often means wearing suits and high-heels.”

Mankind has walked on the moon, surely stylish, comfortable footwear is possible

So Jacqueline knows all too well that fashion and comfort don’t always go hand in hand: “I was on the way home from a customer event, and my feet were in so much pain I had to take off my heels and hobble back to the hotel barefoot.”

After that experience one thing was certain: “We can do better than this. Mankind has walked on the moon, and performed open-heart surgery. Surely it must be possible to produce stylish yet comfortable footwear.”


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Bionic Innovation

Jacqueline began trying to solve the problem by creating custom-made shoes with classic shock-absorbing material. This was expensive, and proved unsuccessful.

Convinced that there must be a better alternative, Jacqueline continued her research, and came up with a bionic solution. Working in partnership with an American company, she developed an innovative shock-absorbing material – a “spinal disk” for the shoe. “I had this innovative material patented. This also marked the beginning of my business idea.”

SAP Alumni Network

What do people do after leaving SAP? All kinds of different things! They found their own tech startups, engage as social entrepreneurs, and work as consultants. Or they even go on to tackle something completely different, like Jacqueline and her comfortable high heels.

Revolutionizing the Shopping Experience

In her time at SAP, Jacqueline had worked with design thinking and business model Innovation. For her it is clear that “if you really want to be successful, it is not enough to simply offer better products than your competitors.” It isn’t only the end product she focuses on, but the whole customer interaction. “Nowadays, if a customer orders shoes online, it usually takes a couple of days until the delivery arrives. It then often happens that the shoes don’t fit, which results in the customer being disappointed, and the product being returned to the supplier. This is a costly process, and is not good for the environment.” The solution? In Jacqueline’s online shop, the customer is able to scan her foot. She is then shown a selection of shoes that really do fit her perfectly. “I want to revolutionize the whole shopping experience.”

Sustainability Meets Customer Loyalty

Jacqueline is already thinking one step ahead. “I want the packaging to be sustainable.” Her shoes are delivered in high-quality boxes that can be attached together to form a shoe cabinet using magnets – an ingenious idea that also increases customer loyalty.

Market Launch

The first prototypes are currently being produced in Italy, and should hopefully be on the market by the middle of this year. Planning is already underway for the online shop. “I would really like to develop my online shop and scanner app on SAP HANA.”

Putting Customer Needs First

Jacqueline still remains closely connected to SAP: “Approaches such as design thinking, which I was first introduced to at SAP, have helped me enormously. You have to focus on customer needs, and develop an integrated solution based on them. This has always been SAP’s success strategy, and this is what I’m trying to implement in my own business model.”

Read more profiles from SAP Alumni Network members.