If you had told me a few years ago I would invent a new concept in footwear and build a company around it, I would have thought you were crazy. My love of singing and songwriting had always been the focal point of my life and my plan was to keep it that way. There’s an old Yiddish proverb...“Man plans and God laughs”. I guess God did just that the moment I planned a career in music. One day I went shopping to buy some new stage outfits and I tried on a fashion boot that looked great but was too tight around my calves. I did the same thing a lot of us women have done at one time or another...we have a ‘blonde moment’ and buy something we know is not comfortable, willingly sacrificing comfort in the name of fashion, and we usually regret it.
It only took a few hours of wearing my new boot on stage with a strained smile on my face for reality to sink in. That blonde moment I‘d had the day before (even though I’m not really a blonde) had come back to haunt me. The next day, I decided to cut off the upper part of my boot so at least I could still wear it as an ankle boot. In my frustration, I also considered going from blonde to brunette.
Being the frugal and DIY girl I’ve always been, rather than throw away half a boot I’d paid good money for, I played around with it on my sewing machine. I soon realized that with a few design changes and the right fabrics, I could customize the calf width and my ‘BootTop’ could be manipulated into 30 different styles. As a perfomer who has spent countless hours on stage wearing uncomfortable footwear, I was also motivated to add a comfort feature I’d always wished for, but never could find...a deeper footbed that accommodates a removable, washable, padded insole.
I made my own prototypes and wore my 2-piece boots everywhere. When about the 50th person stopped to ask me where they could get my boots, my partner, Mark Gendel, said to me.... “We have to sell these!” We manufactured a small order, a dear friend offered us her garage to set up shop in, and we couldn’t keep up with the orders coming in. Before we knew it, it felt as if we were both bobbing down a white water stream, arms and legs flailing, with no raft. God was really laughing now.
We feel very fortunate to now have a 2000 sq. ft. warehouse and showroom in Las Vegas with a blossoming company and an animal friendly brand that offers footwear features never available to women before. We still write and perform music when we have time, but we are dedicated and focused on building a successful, world wide women’s shoe brand, creating jobs, and offering business opportunities to others. We are exceedingly grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from so many wonderful people, as well as the amazing enthusiasum with which women have embraced our products.
I never followed through with my consideration to go brunette. As of today, I’m still a blonde and having more fun making women’s lives happier and doing my share to help end the suffering of animals than I could have ever imagined.
It was an honor to meet one of my heroes, Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals, at a fund raiser in Las Vegas.
1. To improve the lives of women by providing extraordinary comfort, ease of travel and storage, customized fit, creative expression, and an economical solution that helps them meet their changing fashion needs on demand2. To support and encourage the humane treatment of animals by not using their skins and furs in the manufacturing of our products and to contribute to organizations that protect and rescue animals in need3. To make a positive, socially responsible contribution to our country by providing jobs and contributing to the economic prosperity of America.
It was our honor and pleasure to present a portion of all proceeds from our charity event, 'Footwear For Good', to Wagging Tales Rescue, a non-profit organization in Las Vegas who rescues and finds homes for unwanted pets.