My first baby step to my goal

Do you ever have that gut feeling that you are meant to achieve something bigger in life? For me that gut feeling started as a whisper, and over the years the older I get, the louder this whisper becomes. Increasingly over the last seven years this whisper slowly becomes a stronger voice that consistent and persistent.

For so many years I let my mind take charge, but it just always feels like I am not doing the things I am supposed to do. Decisions made from the mind kept me safe and served me well over the years, but I know deep in my heart I do not want to just live safe. I want to live bigger than myself so that I will not regret not living dangerously on my death bed. It was only in the recent months that I start to learn to trust my gut and go by decisions from what my gut tells me. Decisions from the gut never wavers; it is that same consistent conviction that holds you like an anchor and directs you to where you need to go. It is instinctive; you never have to second guess like what your brain mind tricks your body.

For me this ever constant voice that circles in my mind like an endless road march is to create my own shoe brand. I cannot tell you why I have to make shoes. All I can tell you is that my gut tells me I have to make shoes; it is just something that I have to do. I will probably not regret at my death bed about not having children, but not trying to create a shoe empire for myself is something I know I will definitely regret at my death bed.

So for the last few years I keep asking myself - where do I start? It sounds like such a mammoth act to do it. So many decisions to make that stop me in my track. I felt stuck many a times asking myself why I am spending time helping other people design and produce and get rich when I should be spending the time creating things that help me achieve my life's highest potential.

And I guess that's why I made the daunting decision of leaving Singapore to pursue an education in fashion seven years ago. Now that I completed my studies, moved on to three jobs, got married and acclimated to New York being my second home, I cannot help but keep asking myself what is the next step? What is the next step? I recently found that answer through an Ellevate grouping that I joined where one of the women mentioned about shoe prototypes. I never even thought about designing my own shoes before. At the back of my head the only thought I have to starting my own shoe business is getting someone to design the shoes for me and viola! I will have my own shoe line! But that conversation made me think hard about what the next step is for me if I seriously want to create my shoe brand. And that led me into believing that if I want to design my shoes, I have to know how to make shoes. I never thought of becoming a designer myself, but my heart says WHY NOT?

And so this is how it leads to the birth of this blog. I want to chronicle the next part of my journey as a shoe designer. I don't know if I will succeed, but at least I will know that I tried. And the journey in many ways is more important than the actual destination itself. I JUST KNOW THAT I HAVE TO GIVE IT A TRY.

I started to look online for classes on shoemaking and stumbled upon Brooklyn Shoe Space. I browsed through the website and a light bulb flashed in my heart. This is it! Instinctively I know this is where I will start. I signed up for an introduction class to shoe making in July.

On my way to my first class I looked for the address and direction and saw that the address stated as 224 Roebling Street. Another spark ran through my brain - isn't this my birthday number? My heart cannot help but think that this must be a sign pointing me in the right direction. Turns out that the owner of Brooklyn Shoe Space shares the same birthday as me! Talking about signs pointing me in the right direction!

With my curiosity piquing I went on to sign up for another class on making mules on October 20th. I will always remember the first thirty minutes of the corse where I get to choose the colors of my mules; I was like a kid in the candy store - pulling fabrics here and there to see what what I can create. Although the class was 10 hours long and it was 8.30pm by the time finished making my first pair of shoes, I felt a great sense of satisfaction that I finally did it. And I thoroughly enjoyed the class even though there were some frustrating steps and long tedious process of putting pieces together.

I am glad that I finally went for this class as it confirms the feeling I had all along - that I love shoes and want to make more shoes for myself and others.

Next class - 3 day stiletto making class!

Cutting strips of PU fabric for my mid-         Glueing materials together. My mid-sole
sole                                                                 was already prepared in advance.

The most gruelling and tedious step of all - nailing the leather onto the last. This is a very important step as it ensures that the shoe takes on proper shape. Leather has to be tight while nailing otherwise the shoe will not have the smooth contours. I also have to heat the plastic mold in between layers so that the front of the shoes maintains stiffness and holds the shape.

I did not realise shoemaking involves so much glueing! It's just repetitive steps of glueing, glueing and more glueing to keep everything together!

More glueing to keep everything in place. When all is glued and done, nails are removed from the last (picture on the right) and the final step is to glue the leather on top of the mid sole. 

       And voila! The first pair of Yvonne Liao shoes is born.