Kristen Darling from Darling Designz started sewing baby items when she was on Maternity leave with her son. She had always crafted, decorating cakes, and scrapbooking, so sewing became another crafting hobby. She began sewing during nap times. One of her first project were baby slippers. As she would go to boutiques she would go home and attempt a similar shoe, finding inspiration wherever possible. Kristen found herself at the point in her life that her friends were begining to start their families, and what better to gift them with than a pair of handmade baby shoes? Her friends and family thought she should begin selling her creations. She discovered Etsy, and decided-she would give it a try. Between Etsy and local word of mouth she soon made a few sales. Business picked up quickly and before she knew she had a few local shops carrying her soother clips, and her slippers. She also had a dance studio regularly purchasing orders of 80 or more tutus at a time. She also attended regular trade-shows, and started a Facebook page that generated online sales. There came a point that she realized she had a little too much on her plate, and this is when she decided to find a few things to specialize in. She decided on what she enjoyed making the most.
"Shoes have always been a passion of mine... especially little tiny baby ones, so this was definately going to be my main focus! I did a lot of research and taught myself how to make shoes of different styles. Then I tried out different ways of improving the quality of them and eventually got to the point I am at now where I am able to make a quality shoe that can actually be worn outside by a walking toddler. I am still continuing to improve on these... I have even made myself some shoes now (although I'm not sure if a ladies line is where I am headed)!"
She has had an amazing response from all of her customers. She is also making matching headbands, some appliqued t-shirts and beaded soother clips that have kept her very busy!
Kristen is blessed with a three year old, and a one year old, and couldn't be happier about staying at home with them.
"I knew right away after having my first baby that I was not going to want to go back to my desk job and although I never imagined that this is how I would do it, I was determined to stay home with my children! My job as a mom is first and foremost but I am able to squeeze in work time during afternoon naps, late at night when the kids are in bed and sometimes a bit on weekends when my husband is home. It isn't always easy but it's important to me so I make it work! It definately helps that I love what I'm doing. I love to be creative and coming up with new designs is so much fun. The feeling of looking at a new little pair of shoes that I have just created is indescribable!"Kristen plans to continue growing her business without destroying the quality of her handcrafted creations, and I know I for one, cannot wait to see what she does next!
What I thought:
I ordered a pair of handmade baby slippers for Zoey. She made them especially to what I wanted changing some of the fabrics around. She was prompt with any questions I had (responding within 10 minutes!!) and a great person to work with. She had the shoes completed within a few days, and shipping took about a week and a half. (Im in US, and Kristen ships from Canada)
Excellent quality shoes!! The stitching is perfect, and the fabric she picked is fabulous! I would have bought these in a boutique (and paid a heck of a lot more!)
Kristen makes shoes (walking, and crib shoes) headbands, tutus, and Soother clips.
You can find her Facebook page here.
You can order via Etsy here.
Kristen has been good enough to send a pair of these for giveaway as well. These would be perfect for your little one, or to use as a Christmas gift:) These are size- 0-6 month and have a soft micro-suede sole.
Note: These are soft soled crib shoes meant for indoor use. Larger sizes of these shoes have grips on the bottom. Kristen offers walking shoes in her shop, but the shoes pictured here are for indoor use only.