Delicious Shoes to Fill
Some people like shoes. Some people like dessert. Other people like shoes and dessert so much that they'd like to combine the two into a single package. Aiesha and
fall into that last category. And when this husband-and-wife pair realized there was nowhere for people to turn for a red velvet wedge or a frosted donut flat, they created
— the Orlando, Florida-based company dedicated to creating custom dessert-inspired shoes worthy of the runway.
There isn't actually any oven work involved at Shoe Bakery, and you definitely can't eat the products, but the popularity of Shoe Bakery has risen faster than a cake cooking at 350. From the couple's early shoe experiments in July 2013 to Shoe Bakery's official launch in March 2014 to the addition of one employee in the months after, the company has been growing rapidly since its inception. Fortunately, Chris knows a bit about combining art and footwear — and he wasn't a stranger to small business: "I was a shoe customizer [for seven years]," he says. "Doing that, I learned how to imitate textures and make things look as they are not."
It's not surprising that Chris learned a lot. In the freelance-style customizing business that he founded with a few college friends, he "totally transformed" the look of sneakers. "We'd take [sneakers]," says Chris, "and theme [them] to match a recognizable icon." But after running that business for seven years in a saturated market, he was ready for a change.
"I wanted to go from sneakers into something that [had] a bigger market," recalls Chris of his jump to stilettos. "Instead of painting pretty much anything on the heels or flats, I wanted to brand what the artwork was with something that everyone was familiar with." While math may be the only truly universal language, dessert is a close second. And at the end of the day, it's all about the look of these shoes. In fact, in Chris's mind, the shoes are equal parts functional and presentable.
"What we're hoping for is that people don't just buy them to wear them," he says. "They buy them to display them because they're artwork." But don't worry, these shoes work well for just about every occasion and Chris, as head baker at Shoe Factory, keeps comfort top of mind as he designs and "bakes" each pair. His background with sneakers has definitely helped. "I'm used to designing around pressure points," he says. "There's been a lot of thought around not putting things around where there's the most pressure on the shoe."
Piece of cake. Well, not exactly.
"We actually started [offering] shoes for brides," Aiesha says of Shoe Bakery's roots. "If someone wanted their shoes to match their wedding cake, we could help them design a shoe." It wasn't until they expanded to flats, though, that people really took notice and business took off. But that sudden surge meant they had to figure things out quickly (and occasionally ask family members to lend a hand). Though Chris loves what he does, every piece is made by hand, which currently means you can expect a four- to six-week bake time for your own sweet pair.
Then there's logistics, which have proven to be one of Shoe Bakery's biggest hurdles: "Trying to figure out the most efficient way to package everything and ship everything," says Aiesha of their ongoing search for the perfect system. "That's been our biggest challenge." Regardless, this challenge hasn't slowed anything down and it certainly hasn't kept Shoe Bakery landlocked. Then again, after being featured by the likes of Kandee Johnson, Perez Hilton, and famous European bakers only nine months after unofficially opening, international recognition and sales were inevitable (and more than welcome).
Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of extra time floating around. So while Shoe Bakery was scrambling for an office location that could house its growth, Insureon stepped in to help ease the process of finding adequate insurance. "When we found our location," says Aiesha, "we wanted to get in as quickly as possible, and [the landlord] needed us to have insurance. [With Insureon], we were able to get quotes really fast." And when changes were needed, Aiesha says the representative she worked with was quick and helpful with those as well.
Now Chris is free to "bake" some new designs, Aiesha can streamline logistics, and Shoe Bakery can plan for the future. Yes, that means more shoes, but it also means the addition of children's sizes and, sometime down the road, accessories as well. In other words, Shoe Bakery is just getting started. No, the company doesn't make wearable tech, but it doesm make wearable dessert — and that's probably better, anyway.
For a "taste" of what Shoe Bakery has to offer, visit www.shoebakery.com.
Shoe Bakery Co.
P.O. BOX 571166
Orlando, FL 32857
P: (321) 749-0339