This evening I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Audrey Hussey, creator of Kaboogie Shoes on Etsy. Below is her interview. Her baby shoes are simply adorable! For the adults, she makes them in our size too! You can see more of her sweet shoes on http://www.kaboogie.etsy.com/.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a product of my environment. My name is Audrey Hussey, and I am the maker of KaBoogie Shoes, up here in northeast CT. Recycled from garment weight suedes & leathers, because waste isn't something I can tolerate. My moccasin design is my favorite! I took the mass produced baby shoe idea, heightened the ankle and made it my own. I taught myself to sew, because I grew up watching my mom and dad make and do everything DIY. My dad came up in advertising, then owned a sign shop and a stained glass studio, and in his shop and studio I learned everything from graphics to painting to building to design. I went on to get my degree in graphic design and communications, and worked in advertising for 12 years. He taught me there's no limit to what you can do given the tools, so naturally, I can be found doing anything from designing furniture, making paper, painting signs or sewing curtains. Fifteen years ago I was building toddler furniture and frames for consignment.
2. Apart from creating things what do you do?
First, I am my kid's mom, and hubby's wife. I homeschool 4 of my 6 little redheads. What a sight we make! I am a voracious gardener, love to find free stuff or bargains, and am active in my church and homeschool group. I am involved in my town's food pantry also, and am a political junkie! I read voraciously, usually have 4 or 5 books going at once. Right now I'm devouring Cecelia Holland's books and a history of WW2. Homeschooling forces you to get a whole new education!
3. What led you to your art?
It was an evolution, really. My mom sewed and knitted clothes for me and my siblings, and when I had kids I just picked it up. Had already been there & done that which we are inundated with on all of the DIY shows. By the time I had my 6th, I was so sick of hand-me-down shoes on my kids I ripped apart an old pair a friend gave me, cut up hubby's old bomber jacket, and KaBoogie Shoes was born! The diaper covers came from a desire to get away from the old plastic pants I had always used from 14 years ago. I just LOVE felted wool!
4. What is the best advice you can give to someone just starting out selling their work?
Don't follow fads. Make your own. It's so hard, trends are great to be in on when they're hot, but it's so satisfying to think outside the box and have it work. I'm always struggling with it. Also, you have to put the time in and not be afraid to reach out, do something different, put yourself out there! Even getting on TV isn't a guarantee of success, as I've found! I'm still not where I want to be, but it's my own fear holding me back, as I'm sure many others would say. Trust me, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs!