Before reinventing the high heel, Dolly Singh was a recruiter who brought thousands of engineers to places such as Elon Musk?s SpaceX, which is building rockets in Los Angeles. At SpaceX, Singh, 36, wore heels every day. Even though she loved pitching people on SpaceX, she started to dread taking recruits on tours of its 550,000-square-foot rocket factory. ?Once you hit 30, your body changes,? she says. ?I?had liked high heels since I was 17 but was starting to despise them.?
Next she did a stint at Oculus VR, a startup making a virtual-reality visor. Singh didn?t have to walk as much, but she kept thinking about heels. While at Oculus, she enrolled in the Founder Institute, a program that helps budding entrepreneurs develop their ideas. In mid-2014, Facebook bought Oculus?VR for $2?billion. Singh quit to follow her passion, starting Thesis Couture and hoping to apply science to fashion. She?s not designing high heels as much as engineering them.
In hiring for Thesis, Singh has purposefully ignored people with experience in the shoe industry, instead enlisting an astronaut, a wearable-technology whiz, an orthopedist, and a materials expert. ?I remember meeting Dolly for lunch and sketching some things out on napkins,? says Garrett Reisman, an astronaut Singh recruited at SpaceX. He joined Thesis as a consultant last year. ?To be honest, it was pretty far afield from my interest and?expertise, but once she talked about it as an engineering problem, I was hooked,? he says.
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