Hello and welcome!
My name is Helen and I own Cute as a Button Shoes based down in sunny Cornwall, creating amazing crystal shoes, among other things. I’m super new to blogs and blog writing so please bear with me! In fact, I’m very new to the world of business and weddings. I’d never expected to be writing this today and explaining how I have set up my business if you told me this 10 years ago.
I had always been very creative as a child and enjoyed making things, drawing, or taking photos. So much so I remember my primary school teacher in my last few months of year 6 saying to me after I’d finished a picture “you’ll never amount to anything when all you do is your silly drawings.” This opinion stayed with me for years.
I loved drawing and being creative but those words haunted me, especially in later life. I would start projects off and not finish them as I didn’t think I was good enough. I still now have projects I have started off and not finished, but thankfully now its because I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and not that I don’t think I’m good enough.
I started off my business back in January 2019, I'd made a pair of wedding shoes for my friend the previous year and in December of 2018 I had a clear out of all my old clothes I no longer wanted and sold them online.
I decided to invest my profits into buying a pair of ivory satin shoes and Swarovski crystals and some glue. I read many reviews and after lots of research, I choose to order from Crystal Parade and haven’t changed supplier since, great prices and wonderful customer service from the Crystal Parade, they always go the extra mile.
I remember jokingly saying to my husband while holding tightly on to my shoebox and my pack wholesale pack of Swarovski crystals 'these crystal shoes are going to make me millions, all I need to set up my business up is in this shoebox!.’
After advertising the fully crystal shoes on social media I didn't quite get the response I was hoping for. A couple of ladies had messaged me asking about how much they were but when they found out the price I didn't hear from them again, then no one seemed interested in them.
I needed to add more styles and designs to my portfolio. I'd seen that bridal trainers were becoming very popular so thought I’d got nothing to lose. Keeping my overheads low I blinged up my own pair of pumps.
I had a pair of burgundy pumps and some flatback pearls and from a previous project some leftover Swarovski’s from the ivory heels. I'd researched how other custom shoe designers embellished the toes of the Converse pumps as I’d never done it before. The crystal placement looked so uniform and neat, (the honeycomb fill pattern is what they used) I wasn't too keen on the overall look of it and with pearls, I didn't think it would look right.
I'm more of a chuck it on and hope for the best type of girl. So I did a random pattern fill which looked great, I was delighted with the result! Using SS6 (1.8mm) up to SS30 (6mm) flatback pearls and Swarovski flatback crystals this was a slow process taking 2 weeks to finish them off. I do work full time so I have an excuse for being slow :)
I sat with my husband one evening saying how disappointed I was that no one seemed to want or like my shoes. He said to me 'this time next year you won't have this problem and everyone will want your crystal shoes, you'll look back on today and wonder why you were so worried. You'll get your first sale, it just takes time.'
A couple of days later I had my first sale on Etsy, 2 pairs of pumps ordered. 3 months after I set up Cute as a Button. I was so pleased!
A few weeks later a guy messaged me asking about the burgundy pumps and wondered if I was able to make them in white but with 'Bride' & 'Mrs Sabbatini' written in crystals for his fiance. I didn't want to miss out on my first potential sale so said it was no problem. My skill level at the time was just embellishing the toes and a sprinkle of sparkles up the sides. Writing in Swarovski’s without it looking like a 5-year-old had done it was becoming a challenge.
I researched if there were anything like it on the internet but all I could find was block, boring lettering. I wanted movement and flow in my alphabet and writing, I wanted it to look like calligraphy. I practiced the writing using a linen table cloth to get my spacing and heights right before committing to writing on the shoes. Once I start on the shoes that’s it, no turning back.
Thankfully the writing came fairly naturally to me, with an art background and going to art college then on to university to study graphic design where I found a love for typefaces and fonts. I plucked up the courage and finished the shoes off. The pumps have been a massive hit since I first made them.
I pour my heart and soul into my work and I’m always striving to add new products, learn new skills, or taking opportunities that cross my path.
I hope you have enjoyed reading the humble beginnings of my business, Cute as a Button Shoes. There have been daily challenges but I like to think I deal with anything the world throws at me.
If you’re interested in what I do check out my website www.helendaviesdesign.com
All photos are my own and property of Cute as a Button Shoes.