Happy National Book Day!
I was recently given a copy of Be the Shoe and a chance to interview Kathy Kelada, author of the book.
Kathy is a personal stylist, turned life coach, living in LA. She’s spent years helping women achieve their goals, and look good while doing it!
In her new book she helps you discover what sort of shoe you are now, and what shoe you are ultimately meant to be, and helps you realize that if you want a change, you can shift your habits and identity. And what woman can’t relate to a good shoe metaphor!
Once you’ve identified what type of shoe you are, Kathy gives you exercises to do (with your real-life shoes) to help you assess your next steps.
The book itself is absolutely gorgeous. It was illustrated by the talented Bridget Davies, is covered in silky material, and has fold out pages for each of the different shoe types.
I interviewed Kathy to find out more about the book, her advice, and also the illustration process.
1. You mention in the book that you’re a Strappy Sandal, has that changed over the years?
I’ve worn a lot of different shoes through my life, as do we all. But when it gets right down to it, I have always been a Strappy Sandal. I find my decision-making is mostly yes, before no, I’m usually open to possibilities, and I am a collector of beautiful things.
2. If you had to pick just one, which pair of shoes in your closet is your favorite? Tell us why.
I’d have to go with a pair of leopard strappy sandals that I found when I was living in Vermont. They were a constant reminder to me that even though I was living in a cold environment where they were almost never appropriate footwear, they were the essence of me!!
3. Apart from finding the perfect pair of shoes to help you get there, what would you say is the next most important step to take in achieving a personal goal?
I always tell my clients that awareness is 80% of change. It’s so important to KNOW: what you want, what’s stopping you, what steps need to be taken, what we feel about our goal, and most importantly, what we’re WILLING to do to get there.
4. What three things can we all do to really embrace our shoe characteristics?
First, own your shoe – be comfortable with who you really are.
Second, step into it – make choices from your strengths.
Third, be open – life is always changing so we must be flexible and use all our shoe traits to our best advantage!
5. Do you often find yourself thinking about the lives and personality traits of women you see walking by, based on the shoes they are wearing?
Yes, I have to admit I am always watching how different women behave in their shoes. It’s become a fun pastime! I am getting really good at naming their shoe now based on behavior and little clues I pick up.
6. Having moved away and then ultimately returned to LA, what advice can you give those ladies who love where they live, but realize it may not suit who they are inside?
One thing I promised myself when I returned to LA was that I was going to make time and put effort into the things I had missed the most while I was living in Vermont. I make time to drive to the beach for the sunset, eat outside whenever possible, talk to strangers and share a moment, etc. There’s positives and negatives in every location but we can bring those into focus with a little awareness! If you don’t like things the way they are, change them. I’m not saying to make a huge move to another city, but rather to seek out the things you need and want in the city you’re in.
7. Can you tell us about the process of choosing an illustrator for your book? Did you already have a particular style and/or Bridget Davies in mind while you were writing it?
When I was writing the book, I wanted illustrations that enhanced the emotional connection I hoped the book would convey. I saw Bridget’s illustration of blue shoes on a blog I follow and knew immediately that she was the ONE. I never pursued anyone else from that moment on.
8. With Bridget based in the UK and you living in LA, how did you work together to bring the book to life? Did you meet in person at all, or did you work exclusively via email, Skype etc.?
I contacted her via email and made arrangements to meet her for the first time at a London Airport while I was traveling in Europe. We sat and exchanged ideas and the deal was sealed. From then on, we worked via Skype and email with only one other meeting (over tea) in London throughout the entire process. She is an amazing artist and she just kept inspiring me.
9. Did the illustrations and the book overall come out as you initially envisioned or did it change along the way?
The illustrations were Bridget’s artistic style from start to finish and while we changed a specific shoe shape here and there, her artistry is what I relied on and trusted throughout the process. She provided me with so many beautiful images that the hardest part was deciding which ones NOT to use! I am so fortunate to have had her working alongside me in this creative project.
Be the Shoe would make a great Mother's Day gift, and is available here.
What do your shoes say about you?