I went to Transylvania University as a fresh-faced girl that, like so many before her, wanted to be a doctor. I had been in pursuit of this dream my entire life. A childhood friend's dad even gave me the nickname Dr. Elizabeth. I had wanted to become a plastic surgeon, as it combined my two loves, art and medicine. Somewhere along the premed track, I decided that it was not for me...or Physics decided that it was not for me, who can remember? It was so long ago...so I switched my art minor to an art major. I was excited about this new direction, but my parents were hesitant. They rightfully asked me what I was going to do with an art degree? I told them that there were so many options and that I would find a new life plan soon. After that conversation, I started to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. I looked back at what my other passions had been and quickly discovered that shoes had been there all along.
My obsession with shoes started at an early age. I still remember getting my dad in trouble because he bought me white and silver LA Gear high tops with silver laces and his assignment was to help me pick out a pair of all white shoes for school. As a teenager, I would go to the mall and look at shoes for fun and before I would make any shoe purchase, I would pour over the design. I always wanted to change just a little something! So it hit me. I should design shoes for a living! And just like that, a new dream was born.
With my new dream in tow, I started to look over my options with one of my favorite Transy professors, Kurt Gohde. We found a program in NYC and one in Florence, Italy and I immediately decided that Italy would be the place for me. I had always wanted to live abroad for an extended period of time and I loved the program. I would be learning from the best and touring luxury factories across the Italian countryside. What more could a girl want? Ooh La La!
So Kurt and I set a plan in motion. After graduation, I would take a semester off to learn Italian at UK and then venture to Italy the second semester for a foundations of fashion design course at my new school, Polimoda.
The shoe that got me into the program!
From there I interviewed with the footwear and accessory chair and was accepted into the program for the following year. It was a wonderful experience. I designed shoes, but also took courses on how to make their patterns. I toured Ferregamo's factories and learned about the history of footwear from the curator of Ferregamo's museum. I was in shoe heaven in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I also reveled in the food and loved every minute of my experience.
Enjoying La Dolce Vita!
Upon graduation, I parlayed my training into an internship in NYC and then landed a job as the assistant footwear designer/production coordinator for a company that provided the footwear for Victoria's Secret. Yes, they have shoes...you should really check them out!
A fast fashion shoe created in Illustrator for VS. I have come a long way since that first shoe!
Due to the economic situation at the time, I was let go with Louboutins...true story and possibly the working title of my memoir! It really wasn't the worst way to go! After a few months, I found a position at a luxury handbag factory where I worked as the liaison between designers and our sample makers and helped coordinate production for several large well known luxury brands. It was a fun fast paced job and there was never a dull moment!
This position gave me the courage to start my own handbag line with hopes of one day adding a shoe line as well. I absolutely love making my bags by hand and while I have not debuted a new collection in quite some time, I have been making several bridal bags and bridesmaids bags for friends and family and I have been loving the results. Now that Scott and I have moved to Toledo, Ohio (I am always up for an adventure!) and I have more time on my hands, I have been working on a new collection and I could not be more excited to share it with you. I am hoping to launch it some time in March or early April on my etsy site! Let's just say that there will be lots of seersucker, pastels and bows. It is going to be a Southern girl's dream come true! Ooh La La!