The ultimate treat for any shoe lover would be to get to design a gorgeous pair of shoes, from heel to upper. Well now that is possible, thanks to MilkandHoneyShoes.com. Keep reading for a fun Q&A with co-founders and sisters Ilissa and Dorian Howard, and take a peek at my very own Milk & Honey™ creation. SHOE SMITTEN EXCLUSIVE! Get free shipping with promo code “shoesmitten” for one week starting today!
How did you come up with the idea of creating Milk & Honey™ Shoes?
M&H: We’re girls! And we’re high-maintenance! We got so tired of walking through the department stores and boutiques thinking, “if only this came in a 3” heel,” “if only this had an ankle strap.” “WHY can’t I find the perfect nude shoe?” “WHY don’t designers make any shoes in navy blue?” We turned our frustration into resourcefulness and started getting our shoes made to our exact specifications. It took awhile to perfect it, but once we did we couldn’t keep it a secret.
There are a few different sites out there now that allow women to design their own shoes. What sets your site apart?
M&H: Milk & honey is a company started by two sisters who are tried and true shoe lovers – and I think that comes through with our attention to detail about what women really want. We worked hard to provide practical options (“flats” with a 1” miniwedge) and fabulous options (the perfect snakeskin, peep toe pump). Also – the breadth of options — we really wanted our customers to be able to design their shoe, not just tweak options on an existing shoe. We also take tremendous pride in the quality of the materials we use and the quality of the final product.
What is the most creative shoe (in your opinion) you’ve ever seen created on Milk & Honey™?
M&H: Wow – we’ve really seen some amazing designs and outrageous color combinations. We had one customer create a shoe using brightly colored purple glitter and zebra pony. I thought she was nuts – but you know what? It totally worked! I’m always amazed at how confident our customers are and often they are right on with their designs! Especially our brides. We have had brides design everything from strappy, neutral heels to glittery wedges to hot pink flats. We love what our brides come up with!
Tell me a little about the materials available, and other options women have when creating their custom shoes.
M&H: We use materials sourced from around the world – rich leathers, smooth patents, sleek snakeskin, fun patterns, shiny glitter, lustrous pony and soft suede – we offer colors from a bright green to the perfect shade of nude. And if we don’t have it? We can special order something to your exact specifications. We also have an entire selection of “animal friendly” materials – faux leathers, ultrasuede and faux snakesking. We make those shoes with synthetic lining and a compressed rubber bottom to make shopping easy for our vegan clients.
As for shoe design options – we offer 16 different toe options, 13 strap options, 3 different heel shapes in numerous heights, plus embellishments like flowers, studs, knots and other unique options to perfectly customize your shoe.
Once someone orders a pair, what’s the process of bringing them to life?
M&H: We work with very skilled artisans who handcraft each individual shoe. If there are specific requests we send a designer to the markets to specially source the material. Once the shoe is complete, Ilissa reviews each pair of shoes with our cobbler to ensure that they are absolutely perfect. Once they are approved they are wrapped in recycled tissue paper and put in a clear shoebox (for easy storage) and shipped out.
I have to ask…how many shoes do you own?
M&H: If there was such thing as “too many” I’d say that, but instead I’m thinking not enough! I’m no Imelda Marcos but I did recently have to buy more shoe racks!
Who is your favorite designer?
M&H: I am really enjoying Zac Posen, Karen Millen, and Rodarte right now. There is a new designer in LA, Joanna August — I’m obsessed with the jewel-toned colors she uses – at night I dream about her electric blue. I basically love anything with soft material and rich colors.
What’s on your playlist now?
M&H: I am currently obsessed with the sounds of Mumford and Sons, find myself humming Cee Lo Green’s new song all the time, I’m loving having Frentik’s “Not a Bitch” on my running playlist and, as always, Bon Jovi.
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
M&H: My sister and I always design a pair of shoes for each other for birthdays and holidays – I can’t wait to see what she makes me this year! I also really want new lip gloss from Benefit, a vintage candelabra for my deck, the third season of MAD MEN on DVD, a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly…. and world peace.
Complete the phrase: “Wearing my favorite pair of shoes has the same effect on me as…”
M&H: …growing three inches, seeing an ex right after getting my hair blown-out, and being surrounded by my girlfriends – it gives me confidence, makes me walk a little taller (literally and figuratively) and just puts a smile on my face.
Ready to see my own shoe design? Here you go! I think I’ll call her MOLLY:
Inspired by a few of my favorite things this holiday season, MOLLY is a real beauty if I do say so myself! With her gorgeous aubergine velvet bow, dalmatian print upper and 4.5-inch black leather heel, MOLLY will add some cheer to any bombshell party dress. Create your own Milk & Honey shoes at www.milkandhoneyshoes.com!