The adventures and musings of an aspiring shoe designer


This blog is about my adventures in creating a new women’s shoe brand, shoe design and a discussion for all shoe lovers.  I have found as I’ve tripped and stumbled along the way, there seems to be no how to guide for us crazy designers or many people willing to share the map.

My way is certainly not the straight A to B path however, the journey has been very interesting to say the least.  I have met many wonderful, interesting, and generous people and also some shady, strange characters along the way.  Regardless of where this leads it still beats any of the “normal” jobs I’ve had thus far.

  It is my intention to:

  • offer my experiences the good, the bad and the crazy
  •  my expertise where I am able
  • my opinions like them or not however, I am always willing to hear another perspective
  •  create a place where others can learn and contribute to this secret world of design   
  • offer resources as I find them
  • dish about the shoes and designers we cannot get enough of

It is my hope that being very honest (even when it’s not pretty) about who I am and how this goes will inspire and guide others that are also taking a leap of faith.  Or perhaps encourage those that are considering chasing their own dreams.  I encourage all to add their insight and commentary as I am looking to learn from you along the way. 

I am the owner of an up and coming shoe brand, or at least that’s what the goal is.  I am also the mother of one beautiful, brilliant child, and a wife to the best husband anyone could ask for.  I live with my two German Shepherds who I love the same as if they were my children.  More than anything else; I am a woman who is doing her best to chase all of her dreams and to serve the world in a meaningful way.

My goal is to make sure that I can look back at the end of my days and see that I did what my heart told me to, that I made a difference in the world and that I leave knowing that I accomplished what I came here to do. Currently my two greatest passions are designing shoes and saving dogs, I am hoping that one will fund the other, either way I am going to give it my best shot.


Comments on: "About" (4)

  1. Lisen Magnusson said:

    Hi there, just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading about your adventures!
    I am a fellow shoe designer trying to start my own brand too and I applaud you for actually sharing your thoughts and knowledge. I have asked so many industry people for advice and no-one ever wants to share anything.

    I saw you mentioning that you had fired your factory? Have you written about that?
    I had some bad experiences with an Italian factory, everything was going great until they mentioned ( 3 weeks after our meeting ) that there would be an additional “management fee” of 15 000 euros per collection….

    Now I am in the process of producing prototypes in Portugal.
    Hopefully I won’t have to look for another factory.

    All the best of luck!

    • Hi Lisen,

      Thank you, that is why I started this blog because I feel like there are many things I could have avoided had I known what to avoid but, alas no one wants to share the secrets. To be completely honest I don’t have half of the knowledge I would like to have so my hope is that if I share freely what I know others will do the same and we can all learn from each other. I really don’t know why designers act like they are enemies when really we could all do ourselves a favor and help each other when we can. My take is that my succeess doesn’t take anything away from another and vica versa, I seem to be in a small minority but, maybe it’s time for a shift of thinking.

      I would love to hear more about your experiences as I am sure you have more lessons than the one you’ve described. I would like to be able to create an entire category of red flags, or what to avoid as you are surely aware there are so many ways things can go wrong it’s almost impossible to know what to watch out for. Do you have a website? If so feel free to share here I am attempting to create a hub for all designers to share.

      I will be going into the detail of how I came to the decision to shut everything down but, I thought it would be good for me to walk through the story as it happens so that everyone can see how you can get to that point and why I have made the decisions I have. Also it really is useful for me to walk through this as I feel I need to understand things I may have overlooked in an attempt to do a better job moving forward. How did you find your factory? Also what made you look at Portugal instead of another factory in Italy?

      Have a nice day Lisen

  2. Dear Kathy,

    I have had a great time reading about your experiences starting a shoe line. I started my tango shoe line 11 years ago, knowing nothing except what I wanted to wear for dancing. As you surely know, it was crazy-making to say the least. I work with factories in South America. I have found that when the import (and export) fees are added (not to mention the actual shipping charges) it is not possible to make an appropriate mark-up for wholesale – I opted for direct sales. This works for me (more or less) because I have an easy to identify and locate niche market. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as the returns and exchanges are killing me.I would love to find a factory to work with in the US, but have encountered some of the same problems you have.

    I would love to have a chat with you sometime when you have a chance. I think we have much info to share and to learn from each other.

    Best of luck to you,

    Robin Tara
    Tara Tango Shoes

    • Hi Robin,

      Thank you for your kind words, I ljust went to your site and realized that I have been there before, what a small world! Once I had discovered the keys to comfort through much trial and error I ran into your site and thought well she has already figured it out. I have to say the Marilyn is my favorite, very beautiful. I definitely would like the chance to talk with you and if you would be open to sharing with the world your insight on this crazy business I am sure it would be much appreciated.

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