Designer of the Week - Sweet Toes Boutique
This week meet Lesli of Sweet Toes Boutique. She lives in Clearwater, Florida with her husband and two children, Grace is 4 and Evan is 2.
JM: Lesli, when did your interest in painting start?
LESLI: I've enjoyed painting and creating for as long as I can remember. During my first pregnancy, my creative juices really started flowing! I painted name letters, a rocking chair and stool, and I painted a few canvas pictures to match the bedding. I did the same when my second child was born, and I started to realize that other people might enjoy my creations as well. My addiction to children's clothing and my lack of sewing talents led me to try out shoe painting. I started with M2M Gymbo designs, then joined a group and started to match group members' creations and painting characters. [editor's note: JM does not recommend using copyrighted characters in designs unless you first check copyright laws.]
JM: Are there other artists that inspire you?
LESLI: I love everything by this*lil*piggy! Our styles are completely different, but I admire her talents and precision. I've had the pleasure of working with some ebay boutique greats like Kim of Kimberbell and Annette of pickles*and*co, and their designs always blow me away. Designers like these, who create such incredible designs EVERY time, inspire me to always strive to be better at my craft. I want my customers to say "Wow!" when they open their Sweet Toes package... the way I do when I open one of Kim's or Annette's packages!
JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay and do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?
LESLI: I only started selling my shoes on ebay just under a year ago. I had been buying and selling on ebay for years, but mostly just reselling my kids' clothes. I'm an at-home mom, and I was looking for a way to contribute to the family finances. I bought a book on finding your ebay niche since I was already so familiar with the ins and outs of ebay. The thing that stood out the most to me was the line that read, "think about what you enjoy, and figure out a way to make a business of it." I've always loved shoes. In fact, as a kid, I would sleep in my new shoes, and I would clean the shoes - including the bottoms - after wearing them! It was only natural to combine my love for creating and my love of shoes! I mostly sell on ebay, but I also sell on a few online boutiques; www.sweetbumkins.com and on www.journeytome.com. I get a number of orders just from word-of-mouth as well.
JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay?
LESLI: The first item I sold on ebay was a pair of M2M Gymbo canvas mary janes on 2/1/06. That sweet customer has come back several times to order more shoes from me, and she will always be special! The shoes sold for $24.99.
JM: How did come up with your name, Sweet Toes Boutique?
LESLI: I chose the name Sweet Toes because I love to play with my kids' toes and pretend that I'm going to bite them. They giggle wildly while I tell them that I'm going to eat their sweet little toes.
JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?
LESLI: I am a fairly new member of WisteriaLane. . Rhonda (hipchick) approached me about guesting and possibly joining the group. I accepted the invite to guest, and during that time, realized the incredible talent of the members of WisteriaLane. I wanted to be part of a group of designers who make things that I would buy for my own kids. I also found encouragement, lack of drama, a genuine desire from the group members to help one another succeed. It's a fun place to be too! The perfect balance of professionalism and good times! I'm also a member of H2MG (Handmade 2 Match Gymbo); a group of designers who focus on matching Gymbo lines. It's great to get together there with ladies who share my love for Gymbo, and my M2M Gymbo lines have continued to be some of my best sellers.
JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?
LESLI: Well, I'd LOVE to learn to sew! One day I will. As for my shoe designs, I'm always looking to put a different spin on my creations. I'm always learning and working to perfect my designs and gain a steadier hand and more precision. I want people to say, "There's no way somebody painted these shoes by hand!"
JM: What other things do you enjoy besides painting?
LESLI:Besides being mom and wife to my wonderful family and coffee dates with friends, I love music. It's always been a major part of my life. I sing, write, and play a little guitar and drums. My husband is a musician, and we enjoy creating and recording together. I also enjoy travel, though I haven't done much since the kids were born. I love European travel in particular!
JM: Anything else you would like to add?
LESLI: It is such an honor to be featured here on JM! I remember the first time one of my designs was featured, and I was SO thrilled! There are so many incredibly talented ebay designers, so I'm very thankful to be recognized.
Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Lesli? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!
Leave a comment:
Carolina | Wednesday, January 3, 2007 10:56 PM | flag
Awesome interview Lesli! You're such a great designer, wonderful photographer and good friend! (((hugs)))
Angie | Wednesday, January 3, 2007 8:39 PM | flag
Lesli, I am always amazed at your talents every time I receive a pair of shoes from you. It was great working with you and I will definitely be back for more shoes!
Lorie | Wednesday, January 3, 2007 1:46 PM | flag
You have grown so much in the time you've spent working with eBay and the designer's world. Your artistry, photography, marketing talents--all soaring above the crowds. I'm proud to own several pairs of your shoes and hope for many more--and I can't wait to see what else you come up with! Congratulations, Lesli!!
| Tuesday, January 2, 2007 7:24 PM | flag
Your shoes are super cute! Debra
Jessica | Tuesday, January 2, 2007 4:53 PM | flag
Beautiful shoes...congrats on the feature!! Everyone in Wisteria Lane is thrilled to have such a talented shoe painter with us!!
Kate | Tuesday, January 2, 2007 2:07 PM | flag
Such cute shows. Love the doll ones.