Words by Meg Cope, Founder and Designer of Zaccys 

I spent more than two decades in medicine, and absolutely loved my job as a specialist eye surgeon; however, since having my third child, I had started to struggle with the conflicting demands of family and work life. On Valentine’s Day, 2012, my youngest was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which required a prolonged period of intensive treatment. A career break was the best option for us as a family, and I had to stop work immediately.

The silver lining in Zac’s illness was spending those three-and-a-half years of treatment with my children full time. I realised how many of their short childhood years I had missed and, fundamentally, my relationship with medicine also changed over the course of the period.

During these years, I just happened to also find myself searching for a replacement pair of much-loved low wedge espadrilles. Unable to find what I wanted, I set about drawing and designing the perfect style, which served as a wonderful creative bubble into which I could escape during the prolonged hospital stays. In time, these sketches grew into a whole collection.

When I eventually decided to turn my drawings into a business idea, I knew that I wanted to give something back. Zaccys London would never have come about had it not been for my Zaccy’s illness. The charities that supported us, and the research that they fund, made all the difference; and so, from day one, we have made donations to Children With Cancer, CLIC Sargent, and Karkinaki.

The high and lows of running a start-up without any credible experience can be extremely unsettling at times. I felt confident in my abilities as a doctor and surgeon to do a good job. Leaving that ‘security’ and launching into the world of business – which was totally uncharted territory for me – was exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Ultimately though, there is a link… Brands need to listen to their customers just like doctors need to listen to their patients.

Now, I do what I do, because it gives me the opportunity to work flexibly and get my creative fix. The brand is dedicated to my family, who are the greatest source of sunshine in my life. Ultimately, people can look good and feel good in Zaccys London, knowing that such deserving causes are getting a small boost.

Zaccys are designed in London and hand-crafted by master craftsmen in Spain. For each pair sold, the brand pledges a financial donation of £5 to its three chosen charities; during September, for Children's Cancer Awareness Month, this pledge is increased to £10 per pair sold. Click here to find out more and shop Zaccys London. Click here to learn more about Children's Cancer Awareness Month.