Business Woman of the Month: Elle AyoubZadeh

Business Woman of the Month: Elle AyoubZadeh

Elle AyoubZadeh was born in Iran a few years after the revolution of 1981 and lived in Dubai until she was 13. When her mother realized the limitations of life in the Middle East for girls, they shifted to New Zealand for an open and progressive environment which offered great opportunities. 

She lived in New Zealand until she got her master’s degree in business with a specialization in international marketing in the luxury sector. Then, in her quest for new experiences, Elle decided to shift to Australia and began her career in the finance industry with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s retail division. 

After spending two years in Australia, Elle found her next calling when she came across the advertisement line “Good things last longer in Canada” twice. So she decided to believe in her gut feeling and took an internal transfer within the global company State Street Asset Managers, where she was working then in Australia. 

Elle came to Canada in 2007 and worked for her firm until 2010. Then, she decided to take a career shift and enter the world of venture capital and angel investing. So she gave up her corporate job and joined Maple Leaf Angels as Assistant Managing Director, one of Ontario’s first angel investment groups.

All these career journeys led Elle AyoubZadeh to realize her interest in entrepreneurship and to build a company out of her passion for sustainable design and diversity- Zvelle. 

Creating Empowering Narratives

During her upbringing in different parts of the world, Elle AyoubZadeh was taught to value the things bought and to use them for years. She wasn’t used to the culture of fast fashion. 

Hence, she always appreciated unique designs that nobody else had. But she always needed help finding shoes or accessories that were well-crafted and didn’t cost $1000. It was also when she looked at how fashion portrayed women. It was a time when there wasn’t much conversation around diversity, and all advertisements represented one particular type of woman.

Big companies with a lot of money and smart, talented people behind them created pathetic images of women and represented the wrong way women want to be spoken to, none of which she could relate to. 

Business Woman of the Month: Elle AyoubZadeh

She wanted to do something about all these issues she found problematic in the industry. She realized that her passion was in shoes and built Zvelle as a direct-to-consumer brand, which allows selling the products at a good price point by getting to know their customers, offering them the kind of service they like, and having control of the narrative regarding women. 

Championing Individuality 

Elle AyoubZadeh is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director at Zvelle. 

Elle wanted to create a brand that championed individuality that stirred intellect, emotion and creativity. She wanted to tell stories through her design. Her stories are drawn from her passion for creativity, craftsmanship, culture and life. 

Before even having a brand of her own, she used to travel to Italy, Spain and Brazil to meet factory owners and learn about crafting shoes. She did not speak any of these languages, but craftspeople have their language, which is not always spoken. She understood that innately and developed it with time and experience. 

She trained in shoes and bags on the factory floor, working with factory owners and their modelists and craftspeople. She feels most alive in the factories among people creating dreams with their hands. 

Sustainable Craftsmanship

Zvelle began with a determination to do things differently. The motto “Walk How You Want” comes from Elle’s experiences and belief that following the beat of your own heart is more valuable than trying to fit in.

They produce in small batches and choose a sustainable approach to production by using existing luxury materials within 100km of their factories. It allows them to minimize waste and repurpose their materials. There is no sustainability without the human element; humanity is at the heart of everything they do.

Luxury craftsmanship is in Zvelle’s DNA and is paramount to them. They offer intuitive, assured, classic designs expressed in luxury materials and craftsmanship. They follow no trends, no seasonal collections, or colors.

Their bags are designed by Elle and handcrafted in Italy using the best materials to create exquisite crafts that last.

Their collections are entirely produced in Italy, working closely with established, family-run factories. Each factory is handpicked for its unique specialization, local luxury suppliers, and dedication to sustainability.

Zvelle designs aspire to be more than just fashion or status symbols; they remind you to walk how you want. Elle AyoubZadeh considers her work an outlet for independence and self-discovery. To know more about her work and brand, visit the website at

Entrepreneurial journey is a path of learning from your experiences and applying that information to create the brand of your dreams. To read more about such inspiring entrepreneur stories, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

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