Sriracha Stilettos and Beyond: An Interview With Hourglass Footwear

Edith Zimmerman: So you’re part of the company (Hourglass Footwear) that made these phenomenal Sriracha stilettos. Sriracha Stilettos. Would that be a good burlesque name?

Lisa Strom: Go for it! It would definitely be a good burlesque name. Maybe we can sponsor your act.

Kira Bundlie: We can paint the Rock Out design on other shoe styles — flats, mid-heels, stilettos, etc. … but I have to say that “Sriracha Stilettos” sounds a lot sexier for a burlesque name than “Sriracha Flats.”

How did those shoes come about, and how did the whole company come about? (I guess: what’s the brief backstory?)

Kira: We’re a group of nine female artists and designers who were tired of unreliable freelance projects and joy-killing day jobs. Lisa and I took a total leap of faith and left our jobs, launched a Kickstarter campaign and pretty much did exactly what you’re not supposed to do during a down-economy, but there you go. Eight months later, we’re doing booming business and we’re both starting to breathe normally again.

Lisa: Debbie, the Hourglass artist who came up with the Rock Out design concept, isn’t much of a heel-wearer as she is a heel-appreciator (she’s more of a combat boot sort of girl). You wouldn’t think someone who doesn’t wear heels would design them so well, but it works — she sees shoes as canvas more than apparel, so we get all sorts of quirky designs from her.

Kira: Like cuts of meat shoes.

Lisa: And blood spatter shoes.

Visiting your media page highlights how late to the game I am.

Lisa: We’ve been very fortunate with our media coverage. We’ve actually got more coming up, too.

Kira: So you’re not really late to the game. You’re joining the party just as it’s getting fun.

And you can paint anything on shoes?

Lisa: Yes! We all have such varied artistic styles and backgrounds. Between the nine of us, we can literally paint anything you can dream up (unless it’s patented, of course).

What’s your most popular design?

Kira: Aside from the Rock Outs, our Force Majeure design is a big seller. Silk Stockings also sells well. And Flutter By. And Screen Siren. And Burlesque (hey!).

Lisa: About a third of our business is custom, though. Our clients love that they can have anything they want painted on their shoes. In any color, on any style of shoe. Talk about original.

What’s the weirdest design someone asked for? (If you can answer on the record.)

Lisa: We painted airstream trailer shoes one time. Oh, and there was a woman who was having trouble finding glass slippers for her Disney wedding, so she asked us to paint her feet on the leather so it looked like the shoes were see-through glass. We love custom orders!

Are there any other condiment (or other) brands you’re thinking about? I feel like something addressing the gluten-free thing would be interesting.

Kira: The popularity of the Rock Outs have led to all sorts of other hipster food-related design requests, such as Chinese food takeout boxes, PBR, the iconic Greek coffee cup design, sushi, Spam, etc. Gluten-free Stilettos, though. That’s good. And maybe also a burlesque name?

Buyyyy shooooeeeessss, if you want!