It all began with a sticker. Not even a big sticker. A small, blue and white swallow.
Browsing an auction website, I spotted a pair of fifties style, black kitten heels. They weren’t particularly remarkable, until I noticed a little swallow on the outer edge at the front of each shoe. This accelerated them from the category of ‘nice’ to ‘they shall be mine’.
When the shoes arrived, I was surprised to see that the swallows weren’t part of the original design. They were just stickers. Hmm, I thought, I can do better than that.
And so began months of experimenting with different glues, fabrics, charms and trims. The designs I created drew upon my favourite influences, colours and textiles from the 1950’s, mixed with a dash of Rockabilly and Pinup.
Alongside my shoe making fetish, I’d reached that stage in a woman’s life when things started to wobble. Things that didn’t wobble before. After having two lovely kids, my figure had seen better days. Without realising it, I started buying baggy tops and long dresses to cover myself up. I didn’t want any part of my body on show. I’d lost my sense of style and, worst of all, my confidence.
On a rare weekend away with Mr BBB, we wandered in to a vintage-inspired clothes store. Thumbing through the rails, a stunning red and black polka dot dress caught my eye. A stunning red and black polka dot wiggle dress. I gazed at it lovingly and my husband urged me to try it on. But it’s fitted, I thought. Really fitted.
Somehow, he twisted my arm, and I scurried off in to the changing room. The second that fabric hugged my curves I felt amazing. It was like my body shouted “I’m back, baby!” We were the perfect partnership – wiggle dresses need curvy girls and curvy girls need wiggle dresses.
From that moment, I was on a mission. I wanted every woman to feel the way I did when I tried on that wiggle dress, and I was determined to make some (comfortable) killer heels to wear with them. For the first time in years, I was no longer hiding my curves, I was flaunting them. Born Bad Betty was born.
My website went live in August 2013 and I was taken aback by the response to my designs. I hand-customised shoes like a demon, but couldn’t keep up with demand. On top of that, retailers began asking if I offered the shoes for wholesale purchase. So, I started working with a manufacturer and launched the first BBB collection in September 2014.
When I started Born Bad Betty, I had no notion where it would lead. Running a vintage business is a vocation. You do it because you love the fashion, the scene and the people you meet. You don’t do it to become rich. No siree! Unfortunately, I had no idea what an expensive business shoe manufacturing is due to large minimum orders which have to be paid for upfront, along with the price of shipping, customs, insurance and so on.
Up until now, Born Bad Betty has been entirely self-funded. Every penny I’ve earned has gone straight back in to the business. My new designs are finished and ready to go but, in order to have just five styles manufactured, I need to raise over £30,000. With all my assets tied up in stock, this is simply money I don’t have.
So, am I letting this stop me sharing my new styles with you? No way! I’m not called Born Bad Betty for nothing!
That’s why I’m running a Kickstarter campaign. For those who don’t know, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website. Backers pledge money to support your campaign and in return they receive a reward. Whilst the aim is to raise the funds needed to produce the next collection, it’s crucial to me that my backers are well compensated for their support. So, I’ve set my rewards up like to a pre-order system. For example, you pledge £60 and receive a pair of limited-edition BBB shoes at £35 off the UK retail price. The more you pledge, the bigger the discount you receive! Also on offer is the chance to be a pin-up for the day (appearing in a BBB ad campaign) and working alongside me to bring your dream shoe to life.
Obviously, crowdfunding is a gamble. Unless I raise the full amount, I’ll receive none of the money pledged. I’m confident that I’ve put together a great campaign, now it’s a case off getting the word out there for the 30 days the project is live. I’m passionate about my business, about my customers and the happiness my shoes bring them, so I won’t give up without a fight. As the saying goes, Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life!
If you want to support Born Bad Betty’s Kickstarter campaign then go to HERE and check out the rewards on offer.