If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last six months since launching Hourglass Footwear, it’s resoundingly this: stay flexible. You never know when the next game-changing opportunity is going to strike.
A quick back-story: I grew up in Minneapolis. When I went back to visit my family for the holidays this year, I was invited to be on the Lori and Julia show–a popular Twin Cities radio program. Each year, Lori and Julia attend the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and interview celebrities on the red carpet. This year, we’re providing shoes for both of them (Lori chose Silk Stockings in a mid-heel and Julia’s wearing platform Champagne Supernovas). The interview was really fun–Lori and Julia are awesome.
That would have been a great experience on its own…if it had stopped there. But get THIS! Last week, we got an email from Jora Bart, the Public & Media Relations Manager for the Xcel Energy Center (a huge arena where all the major musical acts play when they’re in Minnesota). She said she’d heard me on the radio and wanted to know if we’d like to pitch design ideas for a custom pair of shoes the Xcel Center could give to Lady Gaga as a thank you gift for performing there next month.
Let me just say that again.
Custom shoes. For Lady Gaga.
The next day was our weekly meeting with all the Hourglass artists, so we turned it into a coffee-fueled Gaga brainstorming session. We knew the shoes had to be special and we didn’t just want to paint on them to make them pretty. We wanted to completely transform them into something different and surprising, a la Lady Gaga herself.
Everyone had great contributions, but it was Debbie Faas, Brainstormer Extraordinaire (she should have business cards made to that effect), who took everyone’s breath away with her idea.
It went a little something like this:
Part of the Lady Gaga phenomenon are her throngs of followers (or “little monsters”, as she calls them). Her fan base–or community, really–is more intense and devoted than the fan bases of most other stars. They love and worship her, and she loves them right back as their leader.
…which led Debbie to think of Gaga as Queen Bee, with swarms of fans.
Debbie’s concept is to paint the shoes to look like actual honeycomb–very geometrically intricate and detailed, with swarms of realistic bees covering the heels and migrating toward the toes, and little painted beads or drips of honey here and there.
The warm, slight sexiness of the honeycomb and the glistening, sticky honey mixed with the mildly unnerving swarm of bees is perfect for Lady Gaga’s beautiful/ugly aesthetic.
We all adored the idea, obviously.
I wrote up the proposal and sent it to Jora, and her team totally got it. They loved it too.
Debbie’s going to be leading the project and doing most of the painting herself (not just because it was largely her idea, though. This is just a perfect project for her skill set), and Rachel J.E. Sprague, our very own scientific illustrator, will be assisting with bee detail.
Gaga’s MN show is on February 6th. It’s a tight deadline, but one we don’t mind losing a little sleep over.
You just never, never know what amazing opportunities are right around the corner. It’s been a crazy, wonderful week.
P.S. Case in point: as I was writing this post, Sriracha posted a link to our Rock Out shoes on their Facebook page. We’ve received thousands of unexpected views to our site in the last hour. Yeow!