Regina instructor combines love of sport and artwork for customized sneaker enterprise

Regina instructor combines love of sport and artwork for customized sneaker enterprise

4 years in the past, Cassandra Simon unwrapped artwork provides on Christmas Day. She had requested for instruments to check out her concept of jazzing up sneakers with distinctive designs.

This Christmas, seven folks unwrapped customized work by Simon, 25, who has turned a love of sneakers and a penchant for artwork right into a home-based enterprise that is racking up a wait record.

Every pair distinctive

A cracked-open window lets chilly November air into the small room that acts as a joint studio and workplace in Simon’s Regina condominium. 

She leans over a pair of white Vans she has crisscrossed with pencil marks. She fills within the triangular sample with a slim brush dipped in shades of blue and inexperienced.

A pair of Nike Air Max coated in strips of tape sits on the nook of her modest desk ready to be airbrushed.

The desktop is marked with swooshes of paint that trace at previous initiatives; the peg board in entrance of her, hung with the instruments of the commerce — shoelaces, scissors, tape — and playing cards that includes the Kicks By Cass emblem.

WATCH | Study extra about Simon’s inventive course of:

Artist turns love of sneakers into customized kicks enterprise

Regina-based Cassandra Simon jazzes up sneakers together with her inventive prospers.

Nike Air Pressure 1s are Simon’s commonest fee, however she says she additionally receives requests for Air Jordans, Vans and Doc Martens — mainly, any new pair of kicks that may act as a clean canvas. Prospects ship her the footwear, then they give you the design collaboratively.

Every pair can take wherever from 4 to twenty hours, relying on the intricacy of the design and the strategies used. A few of her most concerned have been hand-drawn anime characters and tributes to athletes.

“I do not essentially have a favorite type or kind of shoe to do, as a result of one of many issues I like quite a bit about doing that is that it is completely different each time,” Simon stated.

Delivery of a enterprise

Simon, who grew up in Edmonton, set information in observe and area as a hurdler whereas a pupil on the College of Alberta. 

“It’s extremely particular person and having your individual type within the sport is a part of the tradition,” Simon stated.

Regardless of not having any formal artwork coaching, Simon has all the time been artistically inclined and remembers experimenting with varied artwork kinds together with her grandmother. 

Throw in a love of Star Wars and a pair of Nike Air Max 90, and also you get her first foray into pumped up kicks.

Black sneakers are accented with bright blue and red Nike swooshes made to mimic light sabres. Tiny spaceships battle it out in the trim along the soles.
Simon’s first pair of customized sneakers have been this Star Wars pair she made for herself. (Cassandra Simon)

The footwear caught the eye of her sisters, who naturally needed their very own. Then their mates requested for some, and the commissions grew.

The Nikes additionally caught the attention of one other observe athlete: Atlee Simon, who attended the College of Regina and bumped into Cassandra at meets. The 2 started courting — which finally helped Atlee internet a pair of customized Air Max and Air Pressure — and he inspired Cassandra to show her ardour right into a enterprise.

A young man sits holding a sneaker and smiling. It has an ajnime character painted inside the Nike swoosh.
Atlee Simon met Cassandra once they have been each collaborating in observe meets for competing faculties. He is holding a pair of footwear she painted for him with an anime design. (Adam Bent/CBC)

“I do not even know what number of pairs she’s executed now, however it looks like each time she does a brand new pair, it is higher than the final,” Atlee stated. “Her abilities are bettering and persons are noticing that.”

Cassandra has obtained orders for all the things from sneakers to put on with grad attire to a pair for a charity fundraiser run by a College of Washington sorority.

White sneakers are painted with an artistic version of the Seatle skyline in shades of blue, purple and pink on one side, and the University of Washington stadium on the other. They also have a large purple W on each side.
Simon donated these footwear for an public sale the Delta Zeta sorority on the College of Washington placed on for the American Society for Deaf Kids. (Cassandra Simon)

She stated it pleases her to see extra girls getting fascinated with sneaker tradition, with corporations increasing their choices for ladies in flip. Her personal feminine buyer base is rising, too.

Goals of enlargement

Cassandra moved to Regina in 2021 and married Atlee a yr later. (She wore Air Jordan 11s together with her marriage ceremony gown.) 

She took up a educating place and gained a complete elementary faculty’s price of followers – and skeptics. As a lot as her college students marvel at her work — donned at instances by her colleagues — she finds herself having to continuously persuade them she did the work herself.

It is onerous responsible them: The footwear are getting more and more intricate as Cassandra challenges herself with new strategies, resembling airbrushing, or utilizing completely different textiles.

Sections of white sneakers have been painted with sky blue, and the Nike swooshes have been filled in with airbrushed clouds.
Simon says she finds it ‘actually fulfilling’ when she tries a brand new method, resembling airbrushing clouds, and it really works out higher than she had imagined. (Cassandra Simon)

Along with her full-time educating job, Cassandra can handle about three to 5 orders a month. She hopes to broaden that sooner or later.

“Seeing folks’s reactions simply confirms to me that I am doing what I must be doing,” Cassandra stated, “and it simply provides me motivation to maintain doing it and be excited for the way forward for my little enterprise.”

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