In 2005, Annie Mohaupt was an architect in Chicago, but she was getting restless sitting at a desk all day. Craving some hands-on work, she came up with the brilliant idea to make shoes instead. She spent long hours in her basement, ‘mad-scientist style,’ creating prototypes until she came up with the perfect design. Since then, Mohop has grown into a successful eco-friendly, made-in-USA shoe brand that’s as gorgeous as it is ethical.
The shoes come in various styles, from flats and mid-height sandals to wedges. The bases are made with responsibly sourced wood and faux vegan leather. The silk ties are made by women in India who receive fair wages, and 100 percent of the cost of the ties is returned to the organization for which they work, a non-profit called Jhoole. These silk ties are beautiful and colourful, and each pair of Mohop sandal comes with three different ties that you can change whenever you want, essentially giving you several pairs of sandals in one.
Annie believes her small company can make a big difference in this world. By embracing innovation (robots do some of the manufacturing, in order to stay competitive in the US market), employing a majority of women, mentoring youth about fashion’s inspiring possibilities, partnering with other small businesses, producing locally, and, of course, always choosing eco-friendly, ethical materials, Mohop is really trying to do its part to join style with sustainability.
It’s now time for the company to expand, so Annie has started a Kickstarter campaign, in hopes of being able to set up a new production line in Las Vegas, Nevada. By donating money, you can order in advance a pair of sandals that will be delivered by May 2014. So far the campaign is among the top 3 percent highest-funded fashion Kickstarters ever. It ends, though, on January 25, so there’s not much time left for Mohop to reach its goal. If you’re interested in supporting this fabulous homegrown shoe company, and if you love shoes, then this might be a good campaign to consider donating to. I know I’m going to!