From London to Brooklyn

This is our latest post in a series of featured makers. We aim to introduce our makers one at a time and give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes story and insights to their practice. This week we would like to introduce:

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First up. Who are you and what do you do? 

My name is Danielle Paewai and I’m from Dannevirke, married to a dairy farmer and a mum of two boys and a third on the way!

My business partner is Annette Kendall. I make 100% genuine leather baby shoes which I have a huge passion for! My business is named after my two sons London and Brooklyn.

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How and why did you get started (instead of getting a proper job like your mother told you)? 

I had never touched a sewing machine in my life and I never ever expected to, then about 6 months ago my grandmother gave me hers and I began experimenting.

I found a small bag of leather in the local Salvation Army shop for $3 and attempted to make my son some moccasins, after that I was hooked and began buying scrap leather from local saddlery’s and upholsterers.

I was asked to design some girly shoes and then my very own flower design was born! After many sleepless nights and hours upon hours of changing my patterns to perfect them and searching for the perfect leather to use I finally decided to make a facebook page.

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What was the first thing you made? 

A cloud cot mobile with pom poms, I was actually surprised at how good it turned out considering I hadn’t used a sewing machine before.

Who or what influences you or inspires you?

My sons definitely inspire me and I love children’s fashion.

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What is your favourite part of making? 

I love seeing babies wearing my shoes, it makes me feel very proud and a few times I have been out and about and a few people have heard me call out to my boys and they ask if I’m the chick on facebook that sells the shoes. It’s a pretty cool feeling and makes me want to do my children proud.

How do you market your business? 

Mainly through facebook and Instagram at the moment.

What tips do you have for others starting out in this game? 

Never ever ever give up on your dreams! If you have a vision take a shot and go for it, you never know until you try. Never let people try to drag you down or put you down. I came across one nasty person in particular whilst starting off but I was determined and you just have to get past negative people and keep doing what you’re doing, there’s some horrible people in this world that like to see others fail but use it as ammunition to make yourself even better. Life is to short for what-ifs.

If you could gift one of your creations to anyone living or dead. Who would that be and what would you give them? Why? 

I would love to gift a pair to my cousin who lives on the other side of the world. We were like sisters growing up and she moved back to the UK and has recently had a baby. I would love to be able to gift some to her in person.

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Do you have any new ideas on the drawing board? 

We have a few ideas in the pipeline for the future ;)

World Domination! How will you achieve it?

No one can ensure us that our lives will follow a golden path, but by believing in myself and taking a huge leap out of my comfort zone, connecting with my customers and inspiring others, I think I could give it a good shot.

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What is next for you?

I would love to see my shoes in children’s boutique shops.

Thanks for sharing your time and giving us an insight to your brand. We look forward to seeing your development and growth. From London to Brooklyn can be found on Facebook as well as in-store at The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

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