I’m not normally a big shoe person, I usually choose to spend my money on clothing and accessories, but Mohop changed all that. Mohop is the shoe line from Annie Mohaupt. Made with wooden and recycled rubber soles, the unique thing about Mohop shoes is that using the elastic loops on the sides, you can create your own unique looks with ribbon. The beauty of that is that you can change your look every day if you want. Grosgrain green ribbons one day, mango-colored silk the next day and white satin the following day. Love it!
I must confess that I have 2 pairs of Mohop shoes, the bent ply, and I have my eye on a third pair, the high cherry wedge. A lot of people ask me if they are comfortable and I have to say that, yes, they are. They are also one of my favorite summertime fashion choices and I feel like 12 million bucks whenever I wear them. I’m going out to dinner tonight and I just might have to wear them!
I’m so pleased today to be able to share my interview with Annie, architect turned shoe designer and mastermind behind the shoes.
Read more about Annie and Mohop below.
1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?
My business name is Mohop – it’s the phonetic pronunciation of my last name Mohaupt, which is of German origin. I make wood-soled shoes.
2. Tell us how you got started with your indie business.
As soon as I starting working as an architectural intern after graduating from college, I felt like a desk job was not for me. After spending years stalking the websites of some of my favorite indie start-ups, as well as messing around with different crafts, it finally occurred to me one day: I should make shoes. Bells starting ringing, the angles sang, and I knew at that moment that I had found my career ‘sole’ mate. [Plus, there are so, so many shoe-related puns to have fun with 😉 ]
3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?
I’m inspired by other indie artisans, friends and family, the materials I use or would like to work with in the future, my gifted assistants and interns, fashion magazines, different fabrication processes, and lots of other random stuff.
4. Are there any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share with newbie indie business owners?
Don’t forget that making and selling cool products is only a part of a successful business. There are 5 million other things that need to be done to run a business, and those 5 million things will take up an enormous amount of your time, especially if you plan on growing your business. Take advantage of the free business counseling in your area – most cities have programs and resources to help small businesses.
5. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you like to have with you?
My husband, my dog, and an enormous solar-powered refrigerator filled with vegan cupcakes and tofu.
6. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best thing is that I get to design and make shoes for a living, and I never get tired of it. The worst thing is that I’m ALWAYS working – to the point that my poor dear husband has to take care of the essentials such as cooking and cleaning. I rarely have time to spend with friends and family. My ‘real’ life is basically on hold until I can figure out a way to become more productive and profitable in the business.
7. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I browse some of the gossip and fashion blogs to keep up with what’s going on – I actually am steadily gaining new celebrity customers every couple weeks – so I find it helps to know who’s who, as I otherwise live in a shoe-related vacuum. I don’t have any real time to shop, unfortunately, but sometimes I do swaps with other designers, so I have a nice wardrobe of clothes and accessories. Otherwise, it’s Target, which right between my house and studio.
8. Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?
I was definitely. I grew up out in the country, without many neighbors to play with or even anything on TV, so I spent my time sewing, drawing, weaving, basically anything to keep my hands occupied. (I also liked riding my bike and reading.) My mom is a gifted artist and crafter, and taught me all sorts of things.
9. Do you like to cook, if so, share your favorite thing to cook. If not, share something you enjoy that someone else prepares for you.
I only like to cook (or preferably bake) every once in a while. I do enjoy making the cupcakes in “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” which are seriously the best cupcakes ever, better even than ‘regular’ cupcakes.
10. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
That’s tough… I think for me it refers to a creative business endeavor that has roots outside the mainstream. Profit isn’t the main goal, but is usually necessary to sustain the endeavor in the long term.
11. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
Reading: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Watching: Season One of Flight of the Conchords on DVD
Listening: My personal TV On the Radio station on Pandora.com
12. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?
I don’t know – I think I had a decent head on my shoulders as a kid. I’m much dumber now… all I think about are shoes.
13. What’s new? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
I have just updated my wedge line – the new wedges have a pretty curved shape and an ‘ergonomic’ footbed like a clog, so they are ridiculously comfortable. I’ve ruined myself for all non-Mohop shoes – other shoes pinch or are not supportive enough. I’m no longer willing to suffer for fashionable shoes… Also, I’m hoping to come up with a close-toed variation for winter. But I say that every year, so we’ll see!