When Eleanor Leinen was diagnosed with diabetes nearly a decade ago, she was determined to battle the disease from the medical as well as fashion fronts. Confronted with the possibility of having to wear therapeutic footwear, she decided to make these shoes as pretty as possible by customizing them with her own hand painted artwork.
The endeavor led to requests from fellow diabetics, turning Leinen’s personal crusade into a full-fledged business. In 2012, she launched Walk Another Way, a collection of art-inspired shoes designed for women with foot issues, sold exclusively on Walkanotherway.com. Based on the success of the venture, Leinen is expanding her business at the wholesale leve with a companion couture collection, set to debut for spring ’15.
While Leinen’s artwork is proprietary, she uses styles from therapeutic footwear brand Drew Shoe as a canvas. “I like the quality and protective values of the shoes,” said Leinen, about features that include added depth in the toe box and forefoot to extended medial heel stabilizers. According to Leinen, all footwear is weather protected to insure designs will last, with each pair coming with a one-year guarantee.
So far, online business has psoted a 10 percent increase in year-to-date sales. To meet demand, Leinen has a staff of five artists working on the collection. Retail prices range from $190 to $525, with delivery from four to six weeks.
At the wholesale level, Leinen offers two options. Retailers can order from the debut, “Going Global,” collection of patterns inspired by global destinations, or work with Leinen to create exclusive designs. “Retailers know what their clients like and don’t like,” she said. “These styles can have more bells, whistles and bling.”
Wholesale prices range from $160 to $250, with minimum orders of six pairs. Delivery’s slated from six to eight weeks. Wholesale orders can be placed at Eleanorleinen@bellsouth.net.