When I was in college, in the 1980s, I had a crush on a girl named Heather who wore leg warmers folded over the tops of her boots.
Later, making surrealistic footwear was my eccentric hobby.
The “Watch Your Step” boots were inspired by my friend Sally, who had a closet full of stiletto-heeled, pointy-toed boots. Every time she bought a new pair I made the same joke, about how women’s fashion footwear was the only dangerous product sold in this country without warning labels.
The artificial turf flip-flops came from me thinking about how women can dress to look sexy, but (straight) men don’t have clothes to look sexy. To look sexy I came up with the Cancún outfit and the artificial turf flip-flops. Like women’s heels, these flip-flops are comfortable for standing, difficult to walk in, and dangerous on stairs. Whenever I wear this outfit women ask to have their pictures taken with me.
In 2013 I was surrealistically thinking about women’s legs disappearing into knee-high boots, that disappear into mid-calf boots, that disappear into ankle boots. I remembered Heather from college and the idea of Bootchkas came to me.
I signed up for a beginner sewing class at Jo Ann Fabric. My little brother is a doctor who drives in demolition derbies and can’t get enough Hello Kitty, so I made him a Hello Kitty pillow case for Christmas.
Then I advertised on craigslist for someone to teach me more sewing skills. Jan Burch, who has twenty years experience in production sewing, helped me make the first pair of Bootchkas. I hired her to design the Bootchkas.
Where did the name “Bootchkas” come from? I took Russian in college and love the sounds of the language. I especially like how Russians express love and friendship by adding the –chka affectionate diminutive suffix to your name. For example, Katherine becomes Katechka, Tatyana becomes Tanechka, and Ivan becomes Vanechka.
We bought a lot of boot cuffs on Etsy. We liked the colors of some boot cuffs, the knitting of others, or the yarn of others. We couldn’t find the perfect boot cuffs so we designed our own boot cuffs.
We sold our first Bootchkas at the Arvada Holiday Craft Fair in November 2014. We sold six pairs of Bootchkas and about 200 pairs of boot cuffs. All the women who tried on the Bootchkas bought them!
And that’s where we are now! We hope you’ll be a part of the next chapter in this story!