Architect-Turned-Shoemaker Looks to Further Expand U.S. Production

Overseas-produced shoes are the worst. You never know whose kid is breaking their back or risking their life to produce a cheap sneaker or sandal that ends up falling apart soon than later. Major footwear manufacturers have contended that it’s the only way to stay in business. Some less conventional entrepreneurs would beg to differ. Take Annie Mohaupt, an architect turned made shoe scientist from Chicago.


Back in 2005, the closet entrepreneur grew tired of her office existence. She felt shackled to her desk all day, yearning for a creative way out. The Chicagoan took refuge in her basement to create the perfect eco-friendly fashion footwear.

Since then, her brand has taken off. Now, her company Mohap offers shoes in a wide range of styles -- from flats to wedges -- crafted out of responsibly source wood, faux vegan leather and silk. The only thing not made in America are the ties that adorn the bases. They’re made in India by women who make fair wages through a nonprofit called Jhoole, which also gets a contribution from Mohap equal to the cost of the ties. That’s a far cry better than 10-year-olds slaving away in sweatshop conditions.

Now the company is trying to set up a new production line in Vegas. What to do in the era of the Internet? Crowd fund, of course. Mohap has started a Kickstarter campaign that ends this week. So far, the shoemaker has out-raised its goal of $50,000. For every donation, funders get first dibs on new shoes that come off the new line.

Read about her campaign: