Start practicing those gritos because the cute and comfortable huaraches from Fiesta Feet will definitely make you squeal with excitement! When I first heard that these super cute shoes were called huaraches, I had no idea that’s what they were… I just knew they were super cute shoes! (And don’t even ask me to pronounce it either.) Last week when I had the opportunity to speak with Susana, the owner and founder of Fiesta Feet (all the deets below, of course!), I learned that these shoes were so much more than that! They give back, they make the world a better place, and as Susana said, they tie her hometown and her roots together.
I am truly amazed at what this woman has built, all to help her family and others. You all know my blog has family at the heart too, so when I learned she also comes from a close-knit family, I instantly wanted to hug her and shout YAY! Susana, I am humbled and filled with gratitude that you let me share your story on Fiesta Feet. You are a true inspiration for girls and business owners alike. Thank you for all you have done!
Now tag a shoe lover and share this story to spread the cause!
Fiesta is around the corner and with the cute and comfortable new huaraches at Fiesta Feet, the queen and princess won’t be the only one being asked to show their shoes.
Fiesta is, undoubtedly, one of the most joyous, colorful celebrations in San Antonio, Texas, and founder of the company, Susana Cabrera McKinlay, has made it possible to get the same festive feeling for your feet and give back at the same time. Proud San Antonian with her roots in Mexico, the idea for Fiesta Feet arose while on an annual family trip to Guadalajara with her 88-year-old grandmother. While chatting, her concerned grandmother offered her a simple piece of advice that has grown into something wonderful, “You need to wear huaraches.” (Typical, cute grandma, am I right?! <3)
Being a lively, upbeat person, Susana didn’t feel the traditional Mexican, woven leather shoe fit her vibrant personality. “They looked boring, but after wearing them for a few days, they were the most comfortable shoes.” Having wider feet, the leather expanded a little to make room for her feet without rubbing, and being woven, they were also breathable and comfortable in the Texas heat. It wasn’t long before she found a solution to her fashion conundrum. “I always wear colorful clothes, so I thought why not make the huaraches that way?!
Planning to Do More
From the start, Susana knew she wanted her fun shoes to work double-time. In addition to being creative and stylish, Susana also has a big heart and is very family-oriented. She spoke with her family about bringing the festive shoes to the market, particularly her aunt who founded and owns Casa Kamami in Guadalajara. Casa Kamami is an all-girl foster home for sexually abused children, even all the staff is female, but Susana described it as much more. “It is not just a foster home, it’s like they’re family. The girls are sisters.” Another difference from the government foster home system in the U.S., and one that Susana whole-heartedly supports, is that Casa Kamami “creates a real family ambiance and not a temporary home.” Girls living in the home range from ages 3-28 years. At the age of 18, girls are welcome to stay, if they please, and are not asked to leave.
With 23 girls currently residing at Casa Kamami, the home’s pesos were stretched thin, and unfortunately, when the Mexican government would call asking for assistance, the home couldn’t help because of the lack of funding. After learning this, Susana wanted to help her aunt and Casa Kamami. She created a business model that would give back 10% of EVERY shoe purchased to Casa Kumami, and even created a special shoe , the Pinata Party, to go specifically to fund the girls’ birthdays. (Birthday WEEK and MONTH is a thing here, people. Let’s give these girls their special day!) In addition, all shoes are hand-made, 100% in Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta, by talented artisans who are also all single mothers! (This is where a majority of the other 90% goes.) On only employing single moms, Susana made the decision “so they can have a home and work life without any sacrificing.” The talented artisans pick up the materials, every shoe is made of high-quality, soft leather, and take them home where they can build each shoe surrounded by their family.
Fiesta Feet gets on its Feet
To test the market, Susana had 300 pairs of shoes made and headed to a pop-up market with the Junior League of San Antonio. In the first week, all 300 pairs were sold, and there were even a few repeat customers wanting different styles after trying and wearing their first pair. From there, Fiesta Feet, with Susana leading the way, created an online store, began speaking with local boutiques, and continued attending trade shows. Susana recalls one of Fiesta Feet’s biggest accomplishments as being able to attend the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas. The event is the largest fashion trade show in the United States and businesses have to complete an application and be approved to attend. After getting accepted, Susana was able to speak with fashion designers and influencers from many different countries who also share an appreciation for craftsmanship and fashion from Mexico.
Today, Fiesta Feet has been in business five months and has already seen positive changes for Casa Kamami. With the funds collected so far, Casa Kamami was able to add a Taekwondo class for the girls. The long-term goal is to be able to sell Fiesta Feet internationally, bring in a men’s and children’s line of huaraches, and eventually hopes to have their very own Fiesta Feet foster home in Mexico with family at the heart of it.
Where to Get Fiesta Feet
If you are out of town, or just like online shopping, you can go online to www.fiestafeet.com to purchase your huaraches. Shoes range from $59-$65 and can be dressed up or down to match any outfit, occasion, or style. If you wear a half-size, it is recommended that you size down. The soft, comfortable leather will stretch to create the perfect fit for your feet.
If you’re local to San Antonio, Fiesta Feet can be found at Element Boutique at 1100 Broadway St. and Fiesta Feet will be attending the Spring Market at The Shops at La Cantera from April 2oth – April 30th, just in time for Fiesta! They are planning to debut the first annual 2017 Fiesta shoe design in April.
You never need an excuse to buy cute shoes, but buying shoes that give back sure is a great one.
I plan on purchasing my own pair of Fiesta Feet soon and sharing my thoughts on them. Be sure to be on the lookout for a follow-up story!
Hair and Makeup – Vanity Eiland by Stephanie Eiland
Photography – Sarah Naselli Photography
Super Cute Shoes – Fiesta Feet