Lapito: Mini shoes with heart

Lapito shoes 'for dapper little feet'!
Image via Lapito Instagram by CLIQUE Mag

Studying shoe design in Italy, Pia Nowland never imagined her dreams of becoming a shoe designer would lead to something a little smaller in size.

"I still can’t believe I make mini shoes, but I love it!" Lapito founder Pia Nowland says.

"It all started after my shoe-making course when I no longer had the machinery to make hard soles. So I started making ‘mini versions’ of the shoes I liked with a soft leather sole.

"I posted them on social media and friends and family started ordering these mini shoes for weddings, baby showers and first birthdays."

Pia's most powerful tool has been word-of-mouth, and it's easy to see why! Pia's designs have been described as 'mini adult shoes' - and that's exactly how they started.

Lapito soft-sole leather shoes for babies and toddlers
Image via Lapito Instagram

"Little did they know I was just making very small prototypes for my first range of adult shoes," Pia says.

"I had people I didn’t know messaging me asking to pop over to purchase a pair – when all I had was a box of patterns, a sewing machine and a few leather hides in my bedroom."

Lapito has grown since those first days, with Pia now working closely with a businesswoman and her small team of artisans in Bali.
Lapito lace-ups in honeycomb
"I think it is really important to understand the industry you want to get into, which is why I invested my savings into education," Pia says.

"I still wanted to make sure the shoes were made ethically and wanted to be on the front foot throughout the entire production, literally.

"We have a great relationship and now I travel to Bali twice a year and meet with her and the artisans.

"I love that I can support a small business in Bali that has become an integral part of my small business in Adelaide."

I couldn't help but ask Pia if she missed making big-people shoes - and it sounds like she's working towards the best of both worlds.

"It’s always nice when you can wear your own designs! I am working on something at the moment - it’s exciting as it will be for a different demographic. It’s still early days but I can’t wait to share my new product when it’s ready to launch."
Lapito Ballerina lace-ups in aubergine

You can meet Pia and check out her designs in the renewed Adelaide space she shares with the likes of milliner Sylvy Earl and textile artist Julie White, among others.

"I have just moved into my first ever office space in the city thanks to Renew Adelaide. It’s incredible, as I now feel like I have a proper business that isn’t based out of my bedroom anymore!"

"I also find it very helpful to surround myself with like-minded people, as it helps motivate and inspire me to be the best I can be."
Facebook: Lapito Footwear
Instagram: @lapitofootwear

The Epworth Building, Level 1, 33 Pirie Street Adelaide.


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