Friday, April 29, 2011

Saturday Morning Launch!

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It's official! We will start sales on our new line of firm-soled shoes at
9:30 am CST Saturday (tomorrow!)

As some of you know, Joyfolie shoes began as booties, then transitioned to soft-soled shoes that were handmade by our local staff in our studio. In the interim, interest in our shoes started to expand. In fact, since 2009 our shoes have sold out within seconds of replenishing our inventory! In response to the growing interest and a similarly growing daughter of my own, we are making the transition to firm-soled shoes. Yay! {In fact, I am so excited that after a few weeks we won't have to preface everything with "firm-soled" any more!}

We will open sales on our new line of shoes at 9:30 am Saturday morning, tomorrow. Here are a few notes on the new Joyfolie shoes:

What Styles are Available
We are starting with the three designs, the Charlotte in Tweed, the Sabre, and the Charlotte in Metallic Cream. You can see all three listings here. These are available in size 4-13; you can see a size chart here. We get a lot of questions about soft-soled and youth sizes. Those may be available in the not too distant future. Also, if you have seen our preview slide-show, then you know that we have quite a few more designs that are coming. When those will be available will just depend on how these first three styles sell!

Will the Shoes Sell Out?
Many customers have asked how quickly the shoes will sell or have asked will they have to worry about a style selling out. The honest answer is I don't know. I have ordered several thousand of these shoes. For the last year, the most we sold of our shoe inventory at one given time was 60 pairs--and they did sell out in a single second. We have always been so severely capped by our handmade inventory, that I was never able to gauge our true sales potential. I can tell you that I have ordered several thousands of shoes, and that Joyfolie has almost 13,000 followers on Facebook and 50-70,000 unique viewers on the blog. How many of those will be buying shoes--I don't know! Also, while a thousand might sound like a lot, it only breaks down to about 100 per size. My best guess is that there will be a few popular sizes that will sell out before the inventory lands here.

Pre-Order Sale
These three styles of shoes mentioned above are available for pre-order purchase. The shoes will not ship to you until early June. As of right now, I do not have an exact date, though it hasn't been without effort. I am not offering a guarantee-by date, but I promise that you will have 30 days from the day we send them to you to return them. Please understand that I am offering a pre-order because we get so many daily requests for shoes, that I am doing my best to offer customers something while we are in transition. I understand some people may not be comfortable waiting that long, which I completely understand. Just bare in mind that some sizes may sell out. When that happens I will not reorder these designs, but move on to new styles.

I have plans on Saturday; will I lose out if I buy later?
I don't expect to sell out of anything the moment we open sales Saturday morning, but, as I said, I don't know for sure. I will keep the pre-order sales open for at least a week, maybe longer. Please note, that I am will be paying to rush the pre-order shoes here ahead of the rest of the inventory balance.

I hope this answers your questions. I think you will love the shoes and the packaging and your whole Joyfolie experience. I have tried so hard to bring to you the best possible product, and I am very excited to have lots of little feet start wearing them! Please feel free to ask questions, and I will answer them!

Also, for more information about our shoes and their construction, click here. See some of you tomorrow morning! :)
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flower Pin Tutorial - and More Yellow!

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In light of out giveaway for the little yellow sandals in the previous post, I thought it might be fun to do a quick and easy tutorial for a matching flower pin. This step by step tutorial is really easy and affordable! You could make the same flower out of scrap fabric or even something of sentimental value, a vintage handkerchief, lining of a dress, etc. You don't need a sewing machine, just a needle and thread and an iron to prep your fabric. This pin is about a 15 minute project.

I almost never photograph anything in the studio, so it was interesting and more fun that I thought {aside from the hour of photo formatting!} to put this together. I hope I have time to do more in the future. Moving on...

Here is a photo of the materials:
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material list:
brightly colored fabric scraps
{I bought mine from the awesome Fancy Tiger Girls at the Makerie}
unbleached cotton
wonder under fusible web
chiffon or small fabric scrap
felt
brooch pin or hair clip
needle and thread
glue
scissors

1.) Evenly layer your three fabrics together {yellow print, wonder under, unbleached cotton} and trim them so they are all the same size. You will need about a 3 inch by 12 inch piece. Make sure you don't have any overhang of wonder under because that will melt and stick to your iron. You can see the fabric layers here:
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2.) Iron all three layers yellow/print side up on the cotton setting of your iron. The wonder under will melt and fuse the two fabrics together. It also prevents the fabric from fraying. Once the layers are bonded, cut out 5 petals. See how the fabric looks bonded in the photo below.
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3.) Cut out 5 petals all the same size. You can see the shape I used in the photo below. Each petal is about 2 inches long. You don't need a template... your flower will have your personality! The most important thing is to make sure all 5 petals are the same. Like this:
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4.) Thread your need with matching thread and tie it off. Now, take the first petal, make a small fold right in the middle and stitch it twice. Like this:
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Here is how it looks from the front:
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5. Repeat this pattern of folding and stitching each petal. As you space your petals, think of each petal as a point of a star, so you space them appropriately. Two petals stitched:
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Four petals stitched...
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All five done:
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5.) Next, I took a small piece of yellow chiffon and stitched it in the center. You don't necessarily need this... it's up to you and how clean your stitching of the petals was. I opted to add some fabric at the center. On to the beads next...
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6.) Stitch on your beads. I loved all the different colors, but seed beads or one large bead would work. Think of what you have around the house... a rhinestone or an interesting button would work, too. So many options!
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7.) Finally, cut a 1.5" round of felt. Cut two slits to slide the brooch pin through. Use your glue to secure it. Here is what the back looks like before I glued it.
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And.... Ta Da! Happy little pin! I went with a modern graphic print, but you could use soft and silky fabrics and do something more romantic. You need such a small amount of materials, that these would make thoughtful but inexpensive gifts for friends or teachers.
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Here it is on Gloria {my dress form} and pinned to a scarf.
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Don't forget, you have until noon tomorrow to enter to win these little sandals....
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To enter, click here. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yellow and Grey & Another Giveaway


Yellow and grey is such a happy combination! I really wanted to do a yellow and grey pair of shoes for the Design a Day series, but never got to. So, since we are waiting to launch our new firm-sole shoes, why not sneak in a design I never got around to making. So, we have a happy little pair of yellow sandals with modern grey print and chiffon flower detail.

You can enter to win them! There are three ways to enter: subscribe to our newsletter, "share" this post on FB, or become a NEW follower of our blog on blogger. Contest ends this Thursday at noon CST.
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Here is more of the same happy shade of yellow for women, a Lanvin washed satin dress and a yellow J Crew coat circa 2009.
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And here is one more pretty pairing of yellow and grey. A sweet little yellow skirt and an adorable tucked in yellow beds. My Mia refuses to sleep in her bed these days and I wonder if it's because she is outgrowing her toddler bed. Anyway, would love to recreate this option for her some day:
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Just a reminder that we will be launching our line for pre-order this week! I will have more info soon!
In the meantime, enter our giveaway, and be sure to enter our newsletter so you stay "in the know." If you are already a subscriber, that counts as an entry already!

Happy Tuesday!
Monday, April 25, 2011

Back from the Holiday

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"And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ"

I hope you had a lovely Easter! One of the delights of the children being so young is that they love holidays with reckless abandon! We have been dying eggs, eating candy, and picking up chocolate bunny wrappers with gusto around here. Aidan had been staging egg hunts in the yard all week long, so much so that he and Mia look like they have the measles because they are so covered in bug bites. It's a wonderful feeling--their insatiable joy and newness of everything. I try as much as I can to savor it, even though we live in a world of constant busyness.

I wanted to take photos and blog yesterday, but I decided to try and rest... I picked some gardenias {pictured above} in bloom in the back yard, cuddled the kids, and Robert and I let them litter the house with candy, basket filler, eggs shells, and toy trinkets. We all went to church, and afterward, I listened to a sermon about joy by Ben Patterson while I made omelets. {Ben used to be the Dean of Hope College, and he traveled to Chicago to officiate Robert and I's wedding over ten years ago.} After breakfast, we spent the afternoon with my family, eating {again} and swimming in my parent's pool. It was an all around lovely day.

Monday comes with a flurry of gathering details together for our launch. I am sure you are wondering, when exactly that will be. Right now, it is looking like perhaps Thursday evening. I have been tracking the replacement samples to launch our pre-order, but.... well, I just won't feel satisfied settling until I see them in my own two hands.

In the interim, I will try to keep it interesting... maybe a new pattern or a tutorial or a giveaway or another woman's shoe. I haven't quite decided which. Anyway, wishing you warm and belated happy Easter wishes and a happy coming week!

blessings!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
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Sabre Cuffed Booties--Coming Next Week!

Photo by Angie of Simplicity Photo
Model is wearing the Sabre in size 12 and one of our Surprise Clips in her hair.
Friday, April 22, 2011

Motherhood and the Woman's Shoes Winner

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photo from here

I love this image, such a sweet moment. I am so very thankful, that in between the sometimes hard line of business, in motherhood and my sweet children, I have a soft place to land.

Also, as promised, I have the winner of the woman's aqua flats! Comment #331, Tabitha L. So see the drawing, click here. Tabitha, please email your address to orders@joyfolie.com.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Different Kind of Giveaway!

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I promised that while we wait for the new launch date I would keep it fun and interesting. {Yes, I do have info on a new date but not saying anything until I have 100% certainty.} So, why not have a giveaway... but a giveaway is not really new, so why not have a giveaway for a woman! So, I made the pair of shoes above. They are made from an umber colored brown fabric with aqua bow and vintage shell buckles. They have soles that are tougher than the ones for our kiddos--material designed for a woman's turn shoe. I will remake the shoes in any whole size 7-10 for the winner. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post! Entries will be accepted up until Thursday, April 21 at 11:59 pm. Winner announced on Friday!

Need a wardrobe suggestion? How about this:
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Or, if like me, you are in a warmer climate, maybe something like this:
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Both pictures are from Polyvore with the shoes I made added in. Also, our vintage shoe tee is $10 off with the coupon PINKSHOE. Also, if you haven't yet, watch our little preview of our new line of shoes... coming soon, I promise!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coming Soon...

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Take a Look Here
(a little preview while we wait for our new launch date)
Monday, April 18, 2011

About Our Firm-Soled Shoes

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As we have been spreading the word about our transition from our hand-made shoes to firm-soled designs, there have been quite a lot of questions about our new product--and understandably so! Thus, I thought it would help to explain how the transition came about, and give you some information on our new line of shoes.

I think it's appropriate to mention that I went from a crafter making a few booties to researching production in just a few months. After having made only a few dozen booties, I was called and told that my tiny little shoes would be in Instyle Magazine. So, I figured I need to find a manufacturer and that was when my journey for production began, back in 2009. I found several different suppliers and saw dozen of samples over a year and a half, but they were all terrible, cheap, plast-ified versions of the handmade shoes. The textures were flat, and there were no careful details. There were so many times when I wanted to give up because the product was so poor.

After nearly abandoning one of my long-time business contacts, he said he might have a factory--they do high end shoes and typically work with 25K minimums. They looked at Joyfolie and decided we had something worth investing in--and agree to produce much smaller numbers for us. In the interim I got better and better at making the handmade shoes, and also made a decision--that if I was going to manufacture our designs, there would be no compromise. These shoes would have all the same details as the handmade originals: hand cut flowers, careful packaging, eco-friendly construction, and beautiful textures.

I am pleased to say, our firm-soled shoes are all that and more! Most of the basic construction of the shoe is certified eco-friendly and a combination of organic and sustainable materials. Additionally, all the details are carefully hand-done, just like in our studio. Many of the materials are designer/US made. In some cases for our boots, the buttons are custom cast as vintage replicas. Similarly in keeping with our handmade roots, the shoes are softer and not nearly as stiff as typical manufactured shoes. Most store-bought shoes are lined in either a synthetic fake leather or pig skin, either of which makes the side walls of the shoes heavy and tough. Joyfolie shoes are much softer and lighter on the foot. However, we were careful about choosing ankle support, so they are durable and supportive enough for an older child, too. Finally, I considered all the careful details I would put into packaging a pair of shoes as a gift for a friend, and then decided we would ship them all that way. So, it is my hope that when you open the shoes, they bring a big smile to you and to your little one, as well.

Regarding price, it was a good deal more expensive to produce a firm-soled shoe than a soft-soled one. After researching the market carefully, we decided our shoes would be appropriately priced above Gap and below JCrew. Additionally, our shoes will be available at a well-known and well-loved national retailer this fall. And unlike JCrew and Gap, our shoes are a boutique line with eco-friendly properties. All these factors went into our new pricing structure. However, I felt it was very important to thank the loyal customers who loved and supported our brand while we were handmade, which is why we included some special extras via our newsletter with especially those people in mind.

Regarding size, we decided to offer size 4-13. Because our shoes are firm-soled but light, we deemed this appropriate for new walkers and older. We hope to go back at some point and add soft-soled and some day boys shoes, too! But for now, these are the sizes we will be offering.

Finally, we have a partner who will be processing our orders for us. It is very difficult to manage timely orders with a small staff--especially with today's technology where one good piece of exposure can spike our sales quickly. {This happened to us a lot!} As we transition to our new line, we will no longer have to struggling to handle volume. Our contract with our shipping partner guarantees that orders placed before 2 pm will ship the very same day!

I have tried, in as many ways possible, to create a Joyfolie experience that was not only true to our original roots, but even better. So, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support in Joyfolie--for teaching me to believe that more is possible in life that I ever imagined! I can't wait for you to see the new shoes! I hope that you love them as much as I do!

When Life Gives You Lemons... and Aprons

"Serendipity is the art of making good of an unsought finding."
- Pek van Andel

As you have read, April 18 was intended to be the launch of our new line of shoes. We were set to debut with three designs of shoes. The last design we finalized {and also the one I suspected to be the most popular} was a tweed peep toe. All I needed was the final fit samples {one sample in every size} to place the order. These were due to arrive Monday, April 11. As it was, I did get a package but instead of shoes I got a box filled with aprons. Everyone I tell this story wants to know if they were cute aprons. And the answer is yes--they were quite cute--but entirely useless to me. All week long, I have been making phone calls trying to track down the missing box of pink peep toes. {UPS is ever my nemesis.} As we went into the weekend, my heart started to sink... knowing that the launch wouldn't happen without them.

More phone calling, thinking, contemplating and {oh, yes!} drinking of wine mixed between, and I decided not to launch without that design. In the interim, I will try to give you as much information as I can about our new line of shoes... and market and explain and answer questions and make it fun! We'll do some deep discounts on our in-stock items, some giveaways, and keep it interesting. It should only be a couple more days or a week at the very most until the samples are replaced. In the meantime, they could just randomly show up! But at this point, the factory and I are making alternative arrangements.

I went ahead and shot images and did some promotional things and you will see pink tweed peep toes--but not the version that I will be selling. We ended up using a different, designer tweed that is brighter and has more texture--even better, I think. Once we launch, I will take those photos down and put the new ones up. Such is life.

I must say, though, if there is anything that I have learned in business, it is the duplicity of business as the melding of hard work and fortuitousness. In life, we get dealt so many cards we did not expect... In my case, much of the unexpectedness has been very plesant! As for the bad, we can wring our hands--or make lemonade out of lemons. So, I appreciate your patience.

And in the spirit of these unfortunate events, why not leave you with adorable citrus-colored apron from Country Living... perfect for squeezing lemons ;)
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Water for Elephants

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photo credits: boy and baby elephant, JCrew Elephant Photo tee, Elephant Giclee print by PlanetMomeko, Girl and Elephant Photo

"I meant what I said and I said what I meant
An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent."
~Dr. Seuss

I read the book Water for Elephants on the plane to Denver. It was a good read. A little more, er, sensual, at some parts than I expected, but there is nothing that compares to the indulgence of getting lost in a good piece of fiction. This book was exceptionally interesting because details were based on documented historical events of the traveling circus in the 1930's. Along those lines, I have a little collection of elephant images I found endearing. I especially like the photo below. It's frightening and mesmerizing at the same time.
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Also, if you haven't yet, be sure to vote on the final 5 styles from the Design a Day series. We received about eight thousand votes! I am promising that your first choice will be converted to firm-sole. Furthermore, everyone who votes gets a chance to enter into a drawing for a pair of your favorite shoes/boots in the size of your choice. For more details click here. If you do not have a FB account and want to enter, email your favorite to info@joyfolie.com.
Monday, April 11, 2011

The Makerie

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"Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening
~ Daisaku Ikeda

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of teaching at the Makerie, a creative retreat that took place in little cabins tucked into the base of the mountains in Boulder, Colorado. The photo above was a picture I took on our morning hike at sunrise. I will try to share the Makerie experience, so you can live vicariously... and also consider it for next year. I have to say, though, coming home to the intense series of deadlines needed to make our launch and returning to a house strewn about with toys and stuffed animals and children's clothes--the Makerie seems like another world!

The honest truth is it was a considerable effort just to get to the Makerie because it fell in the midst of such an intense time in the life of Joyfolie. Even though I had been looking forward to it for a year, the night before my flight, as my studio was torn apart and half stuffed into a trunk; I was literally dripping tears over piles of supplies, wishing for a more "normal" life. I know that's not romantic and probably not what you would expect to hear. But, I think among the world of facebook and blogging, it's so easy to look at someone else and think: they have an ideal life. They have it all, and I don't. So, I want to be authentic with you. Having a business is a roller coaster of emotions, one minute I am crying over my suitcase, thinking that I am one more deadline away from a nervous break down; a few days later, I am having lunch at a cafe in Boulder, reflecting on the trip, and thinking what a charmed life I lead. So, you see, it is both... business, for me, is a marriage of extremes.

After a mere three hours of sleep and before long, I was driving from the Denver Airport into Boulder. Flora Bowley and I rode together, and I am so glad we did! Flora is an accomplished artist and painter and was one of the teachers for the Makerie. In the car, she spoke about how she had just finished her three week tour of teaching in Australia. She also said that while she accomplished her dream of becoming a professional painter, it was actually a more isolating life than she expected; teaching has filled that void for her. Likewise, I think it's important for me to always be steering the ship of Joyfolie in a way that works for me and for my family. Every day is a chance to reassess... we set goals, achieve them, re-evaluate... Sometimes arrival at a goal doesn't turn out quite like how we thought, which is why goals must be dynamic, as every day is another chance to live the life we want to live.

{the lovely Miss Flora}
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Upon arrival at Chautauqua, our cabins were so charming! For me, they were the perfect blend of comfort and quaint. All the cabins are scattered along the mountain base, and there were central buildings for gathering. We had most of our meals in the dining hall, which offered tasty and home-grown fare. So many fresh veggies, whole grains, fish, and the breakfast--yum! I love breakfast but never eat it, so to wake up to endless coffee, asparagus quiche, steel cut apple oatmeal, cinnamon danish, and fresh fruit was a real treat!

Here are one pf the happy little flags, Ali {owner of the Makerie} had staked up and down the hills, greeting us upon arrival. {Photo from Jeanne Oliver's blog, who nicely described taking Flora's class.}
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I taught two full days of classes at the Makerie, and the first was the French Market Class. There are 6 hours of instruction with an hour for lunch in between. This class was out of my normal fare, since we do not sell woman's shoes at Joyfolie. Each participant made two pairs of shoes, one was the trial pair to test the fit, and the second pair was made out of their own fabrics and finishes. I enjoyed watching the personality of each individual come through in their shoes. Here are a few photos of the participants {which were all so wonderful and fun!} and some of their shoes.
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A few more photos of shoes...
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Shoes by participant Jenny Doh of Crescenoh.
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The women's class was the more challenging course for me to teach... not only because it was my first time teaching a creative/sewing course, but also because we were addressing the issue of fit. I had a wonderful time, though, learned a lot, and really hope that everyone who came left feeling happy and satisfied... and ready to go home and make more!

Here are the photos of the tweed shoes that I made for myself as a demo, which actually came in handy walking through the airport, when I had enough of my high heeled boots!
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and a photo of them worn...
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shoes participants made in the Mary Jane class...
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The Makerie... and a Busy Week Ahead!

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I can't believe the Makerie has come and gone! What a life-changing event! I will put together all the details and some photos for you soon! In the mean time, my little gal is mostly clinging to my leg, while I am simultaneously getting ready for our April 18 launch! More details on my weekend at the Makerie and our firm-soled shoes coming soon!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Design a Day Voting!

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After over a month and 30+ designs, the Design a Day project is ready for voting! For those of you just visiting, I designed a new pair of shoes {almost} every day for 30 days. Now you can vote to have your favorite designs manufactured into firm-soled shoes size 4-13. Hooray!

Here are a few tips to help in your voting!

1. This is FB sponsored voting and each "like" is a vote.
2. Vote for your top 5 favorite designs. {You can vote for a little more or less, I am not going to be militant about this.}
3. Don't let with or without straps be a deciding factor. {Especially for smaller sizes, I may integrate a strap into the design.}
4. Consider the season. {The earliest the style can be available for you to purchase is Fall, so bear that in mind. If a summer-style shoe is chosen, I will still produce it, but not until it is seasonally appropriate.}
5. Make it fun! If you really love a shoe design, invite your friend's to vote for it, too! Joyfolie is a small, personal operation. The whole idea is to celebrate that you get to be involved in the process!

Voting will be open from now until April 13. I will also be integrating some giveaways of handmade versions of the Design a Day shoes. To see all the photos of the Design a Day shoes and to vote for your favorites, please click here.

Just a reminder that we will be launching our firm-soles shoes on April 18! I know you have lots of questions about those, which I will answering soon!

It's almost here....

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The Joyfolie launch!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Design a Day - Day 30 {Wing Tips}

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herkimer diamond ring by Mirta, black sequin bow belt, stunning black and white dress

Today is the very last Design a Day! What will I do with all the extra free time after this I wonder? {How about launch a new line of shoes ;) } So, due to a particular customer request, I have a black pair of shoes for our final design. Some customers already know that I don't wear a lot of black; however, I know it is a versatile favorite for many, and it's important to include it. I probably should have gone with a solid black shoe, but I didn't....

Instead I went with some Joyfolie wing tips... or spectator shoes, however you choose to call them. They started out like this:
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But, honestly, I make some mistakes in how I positioned the black trim. But, I heard it said once that design is just a "series of happy accidents," and I would say that's true! So, the design took a turn... and I added some bows. The shoes remind me a little of our houndstooth boots, which were popular.
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Here are a few more photos. They look fun and punchy from the side:
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Not a great photo of them worn... I had Mia's hair in an adorable asymmetric bun, but she and Aidan were too busy bickering while I took the photo to get a great shot.
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Mom can wear something equally vintage-inspired and monochromatic with these series of sharp ensembles by Edelweiss, originally spotted on This is Glamorous.
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Just a reminder, to those who are new, we will be voting on your favorite of all 30 Design a Day shoes. The most popular one(s) will be converted to firm-sole shoes. After that, we will start the pre-order sale on our new line of firm soled shoes! Which means we will finally have substancial inventory of our shoes available for purchase: yay! I am targeting the second week of April, and I will have the final dates tomorrow.

I almost forgot! Today's shoes are called Etta; there is one pair available here.

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