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Montana Made: Mom turns hobby into successful shoe business - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Montana Made: Mom turns hobby into successful shoe business

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Starry Knight started evolving in 2008 when Knight began experimenting with designs, eventually coming up with a pattern for her "Baby Moccs." (MTN News photo) Starry Knight started evolving in 2008 when Knight began experimenting with designs, eventually coming up with a pattern for her "Baby Moccs." (MTN News photo)
(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)
(MTN News photo) (MTN News photo)
CORVALLIS -

It’s safe to say kids fashion has taken off.

You see trends daily on social media and in stores across the country.

One of those trends can be found in the Bitterroot Valley, as a woman is creating unique leather shoes for tiny babies and big kids alike.

"It started off as a hobby,” said Melanie Knight who owns Starry Knight Design, Inc. “Something creative to plug into. (I was) Not necessarily setting out to be a shoemaker but that's just kind of how it evolved over the years."

Knight is working on her new spring line of moccasins out of her shop in downtown Corvallis.

Starry Knight started evolving in 2008 when Knight began experimenting with designs, eventually coming up with a pattern for her "Baby Moccs."

She made them in her home and started selling them at farmers markets.

"It started out with just me,” said Knight. “It was a lot of work building the business and it took a lot of years until I was able to even hire anybody."

Those days seem long ago.

Once people discovered her moccs, the business literally took off running.

Which meant a lot of work for Knight since each moccasin is made to order and stitched by hand.

"Every week we are producing anywhere from 150 to 300 pairs," Knight said.

The increase in business has allowed her to hire seamstresses and recently buy a die cut machine.

Which has made production and quality even better.

It's also expanded the styles of moccs available.

"I have t-straps, Mary Janes, loafers,” said Knight. “A lot of different designs - flower applique, Mary Janes with bows, moccs with bows. They are all just variations of the same pattern with little cut out of appliques on for the most part."

And she only works with the best leather she can find.

"Some of it's from Montana,” said Knight. “There are some that are deer, elk, and bison."

Knight puts her soul into every mocc she makes, which are now sought out across the country and around the world.

"I have quite a few wholesale accounts in Montana,” Knight said. “But, also across the country and a few international. I sell online and I sell on Etsy and my own website. We ship worldwide and all over the country."

Even with the growth, Knight has somehow managed to keep the business true to its roots.

"As far as staying in the handmade nature and unique one of a kind I think that my business definitely is a pretty big business in the whole country even,” said Knight. “But, for sure Montana."

One of the best things about her business is that it's allowed her to be with her husband and 4 boys.

"Over the years it's been something I could do while they were there with me,” said Knight. “I could be cutting or sewing when they are napping. It's been a great thing for me to have as my own part of the family through everything. And they don't remember anything other than their mom being a shoemaker."

That shoemaker keeping her family and now a world of other kids on their feet.

Starry Knight Design Inc. now offers a lot more than just “Baby Moccs.”

If you’d like to check out all the shoes available, click here.

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