A shoe designer in Barrow has been walking on air since winning an international award in the Wedding Industry Experts Awards for the second consecutive year. Amanda Weise creates beautiful custom-made shoes for weddings and special occasions and was awarded the title Most Popular Shoe Designer Worldwide in the competition. Her company, Lace and Love, swept the boards with awards in the town, county, country and worldwide categories.
A delighted Amanda said she became a shoe designer quite by chance. When planning her wedding in 2012, she searched for lace shoes, but could find none and eventually had lace designs painted onto her shoes.
When her sister was looking for footwear for her wedding two years ago, she, too, found the choice limited. “When we saw some pretty lace designs online, I thought ‘I could do that!’ and I started experimenting,” said Amanda.
Amanda posted her creations on Facebook to see what friends thought, and quickly gained followers. She made shoes for family and friends, posted them on the page, and received a few orders.
Today Lace and Love is booming with orders coming in from far afield - Amanda has dispatched shoes to the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
Her shoes were worn at the wedding of Ruth Payne, sister of One Direction band member Liam Payne. A delighted Ruth tweeted pictures of her pretty footwear giving Amanda exposure to her legions of followers.
Amanda works from her home in the village and each shoe is decorated by hand. She is also a part-time nanny, so production is relatively small.
“Shoes are sourced from my suppliers according to what the client wants in the way of heel height or style. We chat about what they want and I make up a design.” Her range caters for every taste, from rockabilly to steampunk (designs inspired by steam-powered machinery). Amanda says while some clients want lace, buttons, feathers and bows, others personalise shoes with names, dates or a picture of a loved one who has passed away. She sometimes adds a brooch or item that has sentimental value.
Other orders have been more quirky... One client wanted feathers up the back of the shoe, another wanted a teacup on the heel, one had a dominoes theme and a 30th birthday client had a small broomstick on each shoe.
She has decorated army boots, Doc Martens and pink trainers for the BBC show Don't Tell the Bride. The crew arrived in Barrow to film and Amanda was sworn to secrecy.
Custom-made shoes range from £149 to £239 and she has a small ready-to-wear collection ranging from £129 to £149. Shoes can take several days to complete if the designs are intricate.
Summer is her busy season and her husband, Kevin, and dog, Harry, are quite used to sharing their living space with colourful footwear - and it’s hands and paws off her works of art.