Sophomore Caroline Eason recently created an Instagram account (@carolines_customs) dedicated to her new business: making art on Nike Air Force 1’s and, hopefully, selling them. She started doodling on her first pair of shoes about a year ago, and it has since blossomed into more than just a hobby — she makes them for her friends, posts custom AF1’s on her Instagram and has created an opportunity to make money doing what she loves.
So I started making shoes around a year ago, and I just started my Instagram about a month or two ago. I haven’t sold any shoes yet, but I’ve made some for free just to get things started — I’ve also given some to friends who have given positive feedback. I’m hoping to start selling some soon.
When I visited some of my old friends last October, I saw that they were all doing similar things to what I’m doing now on my Instagram, so I wanted to join the trend. They were doodling on their shoes with Sharpies, drawing random things and it just gave me some ideas. Then when I started to see [shoe art] on Pinterest and other places, I got really excited about it. I just kind of went from there and tried it for myself.
It’s definitely just a creative outlet; I’m not really interested in making a ton of money off of it. Well I mean I’d like to [make money], but it’s just because I like doing it so much.
I usually look on Pinterest and find different designs, and then take bits and pieces from different shoes that I see. Like if I see a color scheme that I like, I’ll make something off of that. I also just draw from everyday things for sure.
I’ve always been into shoes, ever since I was little. Plus I just can’t paint on a canvas, I’ve tried before and believe me, it was really hard for me.
I think Air Force 1’s have good sectioning [and] that makes it easy to make a cool design on them. They have good lines, if that makes sense, like the way they are designed is a perfect canvas.
It’s been pretty difficult, especially since the shoes aren’t cheap. And I know a lot of people are afraid to ask someone like me to make them shoes — I mean, I’m not technically an artist, so I could definitely mess it up, and I feel like that would make them more wary.
I don’t know that I have a ton of useful advice, I haven’t been doing it for that long. But I’d say to keep trying to get your work out there. It can be challenging starting something new when nobody knows much about it yet.
I’ve tried the whole Sharpied non-symmetrical shoes, just like all over the place doodles. And I’ve also done some that were more of flowers and pretty colors and symmetrical. They’re definitely for different occasions — I think if you want something that would last longer do the painted symmetrical shoes, but if you want a fun shoe I would go with the Sharpie, and just go crazy with it.