Interview conducted by Editor Tiffany Probasco
La Femme Chic creator Katlyne Dessaint Louis and I sat down to talk about her work as a shoe designer, and how she is taking her business to the next level. The self proclaimed tom boy later turned mother and pastor’s wife, talked about her obsession – shoes and how she made that into her full-time career. We talked about balancing family life, spirituality, business and condoms? Well shoe condoms that is. And she even answered the age old question – is it okay to take your shoe’s off in the club?
BostonFab: So how did this whole thing start?
Kaytlyne Dessaint: Well, I’m from Atlanta originally, and you know in Atlanta dressing is like where you have to make sure everything is aligned right. The way I was raised, I was kinda of like a Tom Boy, but then I got to be a bit obsessed with shoes. And I just started buying shoes and then sort of got known through my “obsession” lol. So my brother knew the designer Prajje and from that we connected for me to help him with his shows, but I was still working full-time in Corporate America. Then after I had my son, I decided to go full-time.
BF: How long have you been in the Boston area?
KD: About 6 years. I moved here because I got married. He’s a Bostonian and now a pastor.
BF: Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?
KD: I’m on the go a lot so it could be like a color of a car, or the shape of one of my son’s toys. I also like Jessica Simpson’s style a lot because she looks at the trends, but yet she’s very affordable and comfortable. I think it’s really important to be fabulous and comfortable at the same time.
BF: How does the business work? How do you work with clients?
KD: Well first I ask a client what are you wearing? Then what is your budget. We can work with virtually any budget. I don’t turn anyone away. I will make something work for you because every woman deserves that.
KD: I actually do both. I sometimes take off the original fabric…I really have a lab. I shave the shoe down and then I glue them. You have to be careful with applying new fabric so that there are no bubbles or that you use the right size of crystals. So it’s a lot of work.
BF: Do you still wear high heels as a mom?
KD: I do, I just don’t wear them as high anymore. I wear them maybe about 4, 4 ½ inches.
BF: What’s really hot right now in shoe wear?
KD: Customizing. The youth in my church; they like unique stuff, something very on trend. So I learn their style and then I create something specifically for them. Or like another client I had really wanted to be blinged out, so I worked with her to make her shoe what she wanted it to be. Once I know the color, the dress, the style that they are looking for, then I can create what it is that they want. But for me it really starts with the color and the theme first. Then we talk about what type of event you’re going to, what dress you’re wearing. If someone is doing runway, well then you’re going to be wearing shoes for about an hour, so you can wear higher inches, but if it’s a club event, I may try to convince them to go down a few inches.
BF: So what do you think about people who decide to take their shoes off at an event?
KD: I don’t like barefoot…what I do…because I do understand…is that they have these things – slippers that fit in your purse – I think they’re like $10.00. If your shoes hurt, just take them off, and slide the slippers on. I even bedazzle the little flats. I carry them in my purse all the time. There’s really no reason to walk around barefoot. At all.
BF: What are some tricks of the trade that you have to make the most out of a gal’s shoe collection?
KD: I have a ton of black heels so sometimes I’ll crystallize (put crystals on) the heels or the toe and it can give the shoe a whole new look. I also recommend women always have two pairs of good black pumps – a closed toe and an opened toe pair because it will never go out of style. And now they’ve got these things called the Heel Condoms®. It’s actually like a condom for your heel, they have different colors or like chains, chettah print, lace, or fur, but you can’t even tell.
BF: Is there any celebrity that you feel is on their “shoe game” ?
KD: I love Jennifer Lopez. She can be a little risqué as far as her dress choice, but her shoes are always on point. And she’s not afraid of color. I like simple and classy.
BF: You’re a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist…how do you balance all of that?
KD: I’m a very spiritual person so a lot of prayer and my husband who is very supportive and he’s my backbone. He says that it’s your assignment to showcase your talent to the world.
BF: So where can we find your shoes?
KD: I have a few at Heiress Boutique in Dorchester. I also have some at Suse’s Bridal. So it’s two completely different types of clientele, but it’s exciting. You can also find shoes on our website – La Femme Chic Also towards the end of the year I’ll be coming out with my own shoe line, so that’s also really really exciting! The great thing is that it’s work, but it’s not like work. I’m having so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work at all.
Photo Credit / Todd Lee Photography and Joanna Petite Frere