Confessions of a Shoe Whore


purple gogo boots circa late 1960's

In 1970 I walked past a boutique window in the Chalfont-Haddon Hall Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey and fell in love. The object of my desire – mauve suede knee-high lace up boots-rounded-toe, boxy heel, black grommets and laces. Italian, expensive. I could tell the leather was soft as butter. They reminded me of the boots Nancy Sinatra was singing about in “These Boots are Made for Walkin'”. I love that song. I was 8 years old. Sadly our relationship was not meant to be, but my passion for shoes was born.

Since that day I have appreciated shoes as an admirer, customer and collector. I have a wide variety of styles from all sorts of price points. The running theme for me is “bad ass and beautiful”. I spend most of my time in boots, booties or sandals, but I have my share of pumps and slingbacks as well.

Several years ago I decided I’d like to spend the next stage of my life as a shoemaker. Designing and making – yes, MAKING shoes.  I’ve been a creative and entrepreneur all my life. I love to build things so shoes seemed to be a natural next step. I started with strappy sandals made from component parts in 6 hours in London along with a 2-day shoe design seminar. My next stab was a 7-day pump making workshop in Ashland, Oregon where I learned to make almost all of the shoe by hand.  In 2016, I attended a shoe symposium and got the final piece to the puzzle, suppliers of small quantities for small making shops.

My studio is up and running. My materials are plenty. I’ve created prototypes and and samples. AND I’ve finally hit on the style and business model.  I look forward to sharing all things shoe with you as you accompany me on this fantastic journey.


Transparent Pricing

Retail Price = Material Costs + Labor + Overhead
Materials required for each pair of shoes is $50. It takes 5 hours to make one pair of shoes. It requires skilled labor to make shoes. The minimum fair price for skilled labor is $15/hour.

Conventional Retail Pricing for a sustainable business is based on Keystoning: Retail Price = Cost x 2 in this case $125 X 2 + $250

What does that extra $125 cover?
Facilities costs, Utilities, Staff & Contractor costs, Marketing costs, Professional fees, licenses, etc. Taxes, Packaging & shipping supplies, Pop Up & Display decor, Website maintenance, AND money for me to live.


It’s Unique

Customers receive products catered expressly to them. Purchasers participate in the process of selecting styles and materials, etc. that makes the resulting product unique to them. Buyers emotionally connect to a meaningful item, love it and use it  or wear it proudly.

It’s Sustainable

Because the maker produces only what is ordered, there is little purchasing of unused materials and fewer items made that don’t sell.  This means minimal material or end product waste and less stuff going to our landfills.

It Creates Jobs

A thriving Made to Order business needs quality help and in the best scenarios creates jobs for individuals with different skills. Products are designed, produced, sold and delivered. There are numerous skill sets involved at each stage. From highly specialized craftsmen, to picking, packing and delivering orders, made to order provides jobs.

Made to order allows for custom made quality, with the signature of the maker’s hand. The product is special & unique.  Make this a year for LESS stuff with MORE quality. Invest in yourself, artisans & craftsmen and your community. I believe a strong creative economy is the key to economic success in this world. And it’s a win all around. Buy Made to Order!



signature style on feet

RoxAnneLava launched June 2017 with this BadAss & Beautiful Signature mule. Why this mule? I purchased a size 7 (my size) vintage last at the shoe symposium in June. 2016. On a whim, I decided to make myself a pair to practice cement construction skills. I can’t walk anywhere without women & men asking me where I got the shoes. I’m taking that as a sign.

Working with my friend Georgene McKim at ShoeDo, I have been able to acquire the rest of the size run of vintage lasts born February 26, 1988 to complement my size 7. I created samples for fit and style in whole sizes 5-10.  As of September 2017,  I’m able to add a non-vintage size 11 and I’ve acquired additional vintage pair in sizes 6, 8 & 9.

The plan – a limited number of pairs available monthly for online delivery, complemented with  popups, trunk shows, bridal shows and shoe workshops. You select your style, your size, your upper. I (or you) create your mules. Each pair is truly unique to you.

Small batch shoes mean the materials may vary from shoe to shoe. After all, leather is skin and just like our skin varies so do hides. I celebrate imperfections and select hides to specifically use imperfections as a design detail whenever possible. Each hide is different. I do my best to maintain a similar size/weight to the sole, heel and insole leathers.