By Mykala Montecalvo, Staff Writer
Recently UMF sophomore and entrepreneur Michaela Zeile launched her own business named Be Authentic Products, where she designs and creates personalized sneakers for others. Each pair of sneakers sells from $30 to $36.
Zeile’s business consists of drawing various designs on sneakers and personalizing this design for each customer. The unique art technique Zeile uses is called zentangle, otherwise known as repetitive patterns used to form an entire work of art.
Zelie decided to start her business because she loves art and finds it to be a relaxing way for her to make a profit. “I do gain a profit and frankly I find it very relaxing so it definitely benefits my psyche.” said Zelie.
The intricate designs of Be Authentic Products have caught the eye of many people, including students at UMF. Zelie has sold to many different people, who have given this unique pattern of art to both friends and family members. She estimates that she has sold around 20-30 pairs since she has started.
Cheyenne Judkins, a UMF freshman, bought a pair of shoes from Be Authentic Products and gave them to her stepmother as a birthday gift. Judkins was given many different design options to choose from for the sneakers she purchased.
“Michaela showed me shoes she had done previously so I could get an idea of the work she had already done, but these shoes were pretty personalized, so it wasn’t like I was choosing from a list of options,” said Judkins. From here, Judkins chose the specific design she wished to have.
“I told her [Mickey Mouse] heads and a cupcake, black and pink in color,” said Judkins. “She went with it and they turned out amazing, better than I had imagined.”
Judkins was immensely satisfied with her personalized shoes and even plans to make another purchase from Be Authentic Products in the near future.
“I want a pair of these shoes for myself and when my sisters saw the shoes I brought home for their mother, they were dying for a pair as well,” Judkins said. “I WILL be buying more shoes from Be Authentic Products.”
Not only does she sell her sneakers, but Zeile has also decided to donate pairs of shoes as well. “I am making a pair of shoes for a young child with cancer, free of charge,” she said. “Not because I want the credit but everyone deserves a smile and her bravery astounds me.”
In looking towards the future, Zeilie plans to keep Be Authentic Products on the smaller scale for the next few years. “ I have turned the idea of making my business viral over in my head and I have decided that for now at least I would like to keep it small,” she said. “I am the only artist so far.”
Though she has just created her business, Zeili is proud of her accomplishments thus far. “With all the shoes that I have done I have only improved my artwork and I’ve gained some money so that’s no loss,” she said. I think that everyone should do what they love no matter how scary putting yourself out there may be, it could be an epic fail but at least you can say you tried.”
For more information or to purchase a pair of you own personalized shoes from Be Authentic Products, go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-Authentic-Products/1669021393319013