From re-purposing leather into stylish change purses for Canadian design company Smoking Lily, to making custom socks for clients on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, I’ve always had a love for up-cycling natural materials into beautiful and practical creations.
Nooks Footwear began with a visit to Kelowna’s downtown thrift stores on a cold December day where there happened to be an abundance of outdated wool sweaters; I knew I could re-use them to make some great new items. Patterns for baby booties were soon developed and the first pair of natural fibre, up-cycled Nooks booties were on my daughter’s feet, keeping her cozy. Friends showed interest in also having natural, stylish and unique footwear for their children that would be easy to put on and would stay on.
And so Nooks Footwear was born and has been growing organically through word of mouth and social media ever since. Thanks to feedback from customers at local farmers’ markets and from online customers, the style and construction has been fine-tuned. Today, Nooks Footwear has grown from baby-sized booties into a full line of products ranging from newborn to adult sizes.
Nooks Footwear is committed to continue sourcing great materials, developing new and innovative styles, and growing a sustainable business locally in Kelowna, BC. Whether you’re interested in toasty slippers for yourself, booties for your children, or unique and practical gifts for friends and family, you’ll surely be able to find a pair of Nooks that fit the season, your budget and your style.About Ruthy and her family:
My name is Ruthy Penner and I'm the owner and designer of Nooks Footwear. My partner and I live in sunny Kelowna, BC with our 2 year old daughter Anouk. Being a stay-at-home mom means that I operate my home-based studio mostly in the evenings and weekends, but I still get to drop off parcels for customers at the post office and go thrift store shopping for materials during the day with my daughter. Finding work-life balance is always challenging, but with the help of a great team and my partner who helps me out with marketing and communications, we've been able to find success in the first year of operation and there's no sign of slowing down! Even though sleep may be getting compromised in trying to do it all, there's no better feeling than doing what I love and feel passionate about.Ruthy asked me what style of booties I wanted for Lemon and I, so I sent her some pictures from her IG page as a style preference and told her some colors we liked (girly ones, of course):
Ruthy sent us a custom made, matching pair of booties and slippers (in my requested color/style) and I absolutely love them! She also sent me some wool inserts ($18.54 US), to make my slippers more comfy, and a friend recently bought Lemon one of Ruthy's upcylced, handmade dresses ($40) - another awesome aspect of her business. All of her items are made from repurposed materials and you can even send her old items of yours, or your babe's (like their baby blanket!) for her to make booties, slippers or a dress out of - how cool is that?! I love small, family businesses and I LOVE re-purposed materials - it's so awesome that she doesn't let anything go to waste!
Here is her size chart and prices (in Canadian currency, would have to convert to US currency):
Our slippers are made from pink and purple wool, with a pink heart, and brown suede bottoms and toes. Mine are unbelievably comfy and fit true to size (I ordered a size 6.5, 9 inches, $60), although I kind of wish I would have gotten a half size smaller because I feel like they will stretch after a bit of wear (and since I'm in AZ I'm not really wearing them with socks). This is the smallest Womens' size that she offers, and if you want to go smaller (measuring 8.25 inches) you are into Kids' sizing for $45 (kind of a deal if you have small feet!).
I have a tendency to wear cute slippers, outside of the house (sometimes even to school if they can pass as boots!), and I was really tempted to do that with these. They are SO comfy and look SO cute with leggings that I had to promise my friends I wouldn't wear them out. (And, as you can see I'm wearing leggings as pants in this pic as well, something my bestie would totally frown upon - watch this.)
Lemon's boots fit perfectly, I ordered a kids' size 7 (it measures 5.57 inches) so that she would have some room to grow (her foot measures 5.25 inches). Even though the booties are a bit big the way I ordered them, they don't slip off her foot or seem uncomfortable. They are the slip on style ($40) and are super easy to get on but stay put when on her foot and she seems to like them! They have thick, suede bottoms and toes, perfect for a walker, and aren't slippery even on our hardwood floors.
They are also super cute with leggings, on a babe, and even with a dress! I just wish we had more of a winter here so Lemon could fully enjoy these, we are going to have to chase a storm up north this weekend so she gets some wear out of them (it has been unseasonably hot in AZ this winter). The mornings are still cool, however, and these are great for around the house so her toes don't get cold. Socks are so slippery, on our floors, so I'm happy I have these to put her in at home when it's colder when she gets out of bed.
Can we just talk about this dress? It is AMAZING. Hand made, hard to score (Ruthy only offers one per week) and it was sent to us by an IG friend in a gift swap. I absolutely love it, you can tell a lot of hard work went into making it, I love that it is repurposed and especially that it is one of a kind. Unless Ruthy has more fabric from a repurposed item of clothing, no two dresses/boots/etc. are alike. That is part of what makes these items so special and so fun to own. (I paired the dress with our Feather & Filly moccs, she makes some of our favorite pairs!)
Overall I would totally purchase another dress and pair of boots from Ruthy at Nooks Footwear. Although we did not try the velcro boots, I am sure they fit and are made just as well as our slip on pairs, and fit true to size. Our boots are super comfy, so stylish (that I would wear them out!) and Lemon's dress is to die for.
Ruthy is amazing at what she does, does it with integrity and the fact that she's using repurposed materials means she cares about the environment and lets nothing go to waste. She is great to deal with, quick to respond to all emails and questions/comments on IG and is building an awesome business. I am confident that Ruthy will be doing this in years to come and will be SO successful at this venture - her clothes/shoes are made well and you can tell she puts lots of love into them.
Go and get yourself and your babe a pair ASAP and try to snag one of her weekly dresses - you won't be disappointed!
Nooks Footwear Giveaway!
Ruthy has generously agreed to give away a pair of her Nooks Footwear baby/kids booties and you get to choose any pair, from her Etsy shop, if you win! Here's how to enter:
- Follow nooksfootwear and I (allisonpants) on Instagram and repost our giveaway picture. Hash tag it #nooksblueberry and cross your fingers! (If you don't have an Instagram account, just follow my blog, on either Google or on Blog Lovin', and comment below to be entered.)
- For an extra entry, follow my blog and comment on this post saying why you would love to win a pair of Nooks booties for your baby/kid! (You've got to follow in order for your comment/entry to count.)
Winners will be chosen at random on Saturday, March 1st at 12pm MST. If you win, you can choose any pair of Nooks Footwear booties listed in her Etsy shop for your babe. Good luck!!