Hazel’s shoes are in the Premier League!
Making shoes turned my life around
Hazel Orton, 42, Leicestershire
Things hadn’t been going well for me… Last March, I suddenly lost my job as a sign maker. ‘Everything will be fine,’ I told my lads, Jake, now 23, and Connor, 15.
Truth was, I was struggling to make ends meet.
I’d fallen behind on rent, couldn’t find work and the cupboards were bare.
Ashamed, I went to a local food bank for help.
My landlord was incredibly understanding, too, but I knew it was only a matter of time before his patience wore thin. He’d already mentioned the dreaded word ‘eviction’ to me. Then I received an email from a friend of a friend. She knew I had a degree in Multi-media Textile Design and Business, was creative, and loved arts and crafts. ‘I want some personalised shoes for my wedding,’ she explained, asking if I could customise some with the Leicester City FC emblem. I did some research and decided to give it a go! It took me a week to whip up the stilettos and handbag for her. ‘Thank you so much!’ she said when I sent them to her. She even posted a picture online. By the next morning, we had clocked up 31,000 views! Better still, orders for more shoes were suddenly flooding in! Soon, I was making 15 pairs a week. And, as Leicester City made their way up the league table, I was inundated! I even made myself a pair to wear in the pub.
‘It’s free advertising,’ I laughed to mates, as I showed them off.
And, thankfully, it meant money was coming, too. I started my own Facebook page and, last year, when Leicester were shock Premier League champions, business just boomed!
But it wasn’t just football customising.
I made anything from local business logos to other bespoke wedding shoes for brides.
‘I lost my dad and I’d like his picture on my shoes so that he’s still walking me down the aisle,’ one customer wrote.
My heart really went out to her.
I did as she asked and sent them… ‘They’re so lovely I can’t wear them,’ she sobbed, wanting them to display in her house.
‘Can you make me another pair for the wedding?’ How could I refuse her? By then, I’d set up a workstation in my bedroom and lounge. Now, I’m trying out superhero prints for an upcoming Comic Con event and experimenting with embellishing wellies and Dr Martens boots.
Sometimes I want to keep the shoes I customise.
Making shoes saved me from going broke and losing my home.
Now I’m really taking a step in the right direction!
Orders came flooding in Now I’m making huge strides in my career
A freak win made me a winner too!
My football footwear proved a huge success