WELCOME back to our journal space - we have our next maker for you to meet & we are so, so excited to introduce them to you!
Inroducing our second 'Meet The Maker' guest, Katerina from Lex & Liv. (@lexandliv)
Most of you have probably come across this talented maker, but if not - you're welcome!
Katerina resides in Rochester, New York with her husband and two younger muses. Her specialty is baby moccasins made from vegetable tanned leather.
I am a proud owner of this makers creations, so I can vouch for the high quality and buttery soft leather that they are made from. What captured me was the unique design and the quality of the make just in the photographs. Let me tell you, they are even better in the real! I am also captivated by the gorgeous palette of colours they are available in. These mocassins can easily be mistaken for works of art, they are almost too good to wear! I can see Katerina's professional background in her designs, the precision of these moccasins is unsurpassed.
So again, grab yourselves a cuppa (or a wine!) and enjoy getting to know a little bit more about this extraordinary maker.
Welome Katerina, how did the idea for your business come about?
I’ve always had a special love for tiny baby shoes, it just never occurred to me I’d ever be making them myself. I trained as an architect and had no sewing expertise to speak of. At my daughter’s one year paediatric appointment (3 years ago now!), they informed us she’d failed her lead screen. Fast forward a few days and I’d fallen down the darkest part of the internet rabbit hole searching for possible sources of lead. We lived in a new house, no lead paint. I remembered some baby moccasins I’d just purchased for her (that doubled as her favourite teething toy) and I searched for “leather safety babies” and that’s where it all started. One little Google search that opened up my eyes to the terrible chemicals in chrome-tanned leather that we allow on our children’s skin (and in their mouths). Fortunately, we discovered the lead screen was a false positive but I’d already become interested in finding chrome-free leather baby shoes. When I wasn’t able to find any, I had a crazy idea to source leather hides tanned with tree tannins rather than chromium salts. A few heinous first few efforts at shoemaking eventually lead to something I was really proud to sell.
Is there a story behind the name?
Yes. Lex&Liv are my children, Alexander and Olivia. Actually I reserved my web domain about 1 month before Olivia was born, long before I started my business. I had the idea I was going to be a blogger (and strove to be the most boring blogger on earth, quite successfully, I might add…)
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love the flexibility of working from home- my children are still so young. I feel like I have the best of so many worlds. I don’t have to schlep myself to an office every morning (though I do try my best not to sew in my pyjamas). I can drop them off at school and be there to pick them up.
What social media channels are you on?
I'm on Instagram (@lexandliv), Pinterest (lexandlivmoccs) and Facebook (lexandliv). Pretty sure I have a Twitter account, though damned if I can remember the password! Most of my energy goes towards Instagram, which I suspect is the case with many young brands these days. Admittedly, I can’t stand it, but it’s a necessary component of marketing these days.
What makes you uncomfortable in the world of social media?
I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that anything we put out into the world is there forever, and you just don’t know who’s looking at it. I try to be mindful of that and not post too many photos of my children. It’s hard because I want to be open and share behind the scenes of Lex&Liv. And yet it’s my duty to protect their privacy.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Oh goodness, probably when I received an email from Vogue, letting me know they’d featured my moccasins in an article. I think it was called “Baby gifts fit for a supermodel,’ inspired by the birth of Tyra Banks’ baby (sadly, nobody took the hint to buy them for Tyra). It was a real “pinch me” moment because, I mean, it’s Vogue! And I hadn’t contacted anyone about getting featured, so it was a real shock.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I'm really inspired by handcrafted luxury women’s fashion. Chanel, Marni, Celine, Self Portrait, Alberta Ferretti. Fine detailing without being overly ostentatious. I think we all like to think we pick our baby fashion for baby but it’s really an extension of our own style and taste. Baby only cares about comfort. I knew I wanted to make comfortable baby shoes that were also SAFE but at some point it occurred to me I could create a distinctly sophisticated little shoe that could reflect mom or dad’s style too.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
People might roll their eyes at this one, but Martha Stewart! Martha don’t take no $hit! It’s so difficult for me to put my business ahead of other peripheral distractions. I have a hard time asking for what I want, or saying “no,” or “it’s just not a good fit.” Martha doesn’t pussyfoot around people’s feelings! She takes a lot of criticism for that but I feel it’s an important ingredient for her enduring success.
What makes Katerina happy?
Being productive, especially on those days I manage to cook a proper dinner too. Having a glimmer of an idea that translates perfectly from paper to reality. Trashy reality TV (what can I say…) Cappuccinos. Cyprus (specifically on my grandmother’s veranda). Weddings. Family movie night. Chocolate mousse.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be & why?
I’ve thought about this question quite a bit and I don’t know why it gives me so much trouble. Perhaps because I can’t narrow it down to just one. Susan B Anthony, abolitionist and arguably the founder of the American feminist movement, lived only a couple of miles from where I live now. I’d love to take tea with the woman who helped turn the patriarchy on its head, especially now that it’s become such a hotly debated subject again. Tea with Susan AND Martha, even better.
And that's what is - Lex and Liv. There is always a story behind a maker, so I hope you have enjoyed getting to know this designer that little bit more. Do yourself a favour and check out their website here.
Love fIONA x
All photos were supplied by Lex & Liv