When Lena Dunham stepped out at the CFDA Awards on Monday evening, much attention was paid to her feet. The “Girls” writer and actress had accessorized her monochromatic Creatures of the Wind dress with high-heeled pink bunny slippers – lending some whimsy to the red carpet event.
Immediately, Dunham’s posts to Instagram were flooded with comments, with fans inquiring about the origins of her eccentric shoes. They are the creation of Streetzies – a small New York-based mother-and-daughter operation of partially hand-made bunny heels. Pamela Ohlsson and daughter Copen Aiavolasiti have been selling the $98 style since 2009. In the wake of Dunham’s endorsement, the label received more than 500 emails overnight inquiring into the product.
Here, WWD exclusively speaks with the label’s founders:
WWD: How did Lena Dunham come accross your shoes?
Copen Aiavolasiti: It’s a bit of a mystery. I did send some shoes to Lena but had no idea she was going to wear them to the awards last night, that was extremely unexpected.
WWD: What has the response been like since last evening?
C.A.: I actually got so many emails, I wasn’t able to process how huge this was going to be for my company. Again, it was unexpected and I wasn’t exactly prepared. I was answering emails last night until five in the morning.
WWD: How did this bunny slipper come about?
C.A.: My mother invented the bunny slipper – they were a gift for me and immediately when she gave me the first pair I saw a lot of marketing potential, possibly some commercial success. We are the only ones doing anything like it – they tend to get a lot of attention, no matter where they go. Myself and my mother like to think fashion can be fun – hopefully when people see our bunny slippers, they can smile.
WWD: How did you translate the concept into a business?
C.A.: The first pair she made for me was around 2004 and we launched the company in 2009 – it took us a while to get things going, to get a patent and line a lot of it up. We are a very small company, my mother and I are both artists so business things have been a little tricky with how to go forward to make product available to customers. But I’m happy to say we are working with a new manufacturer and by the end of year, we going to have our classic style restocked and are also working on a very new exciting line.
WWD: What have been some of the harder aspects of setting up your business?
C.A.: We make each and every bunny head by hand right now, and always had issues with manufacturing because we didn’t have experience with how to source manufacturers – that was really limiting to us, as far as what we could sell. Although we got a lot of interest in wholesaling and boutiques carrying the line, we couldn’t scale the business. Right now we only sell through our website, which has unfortunately been sold out of product for quite some time. Right now, the slippers are hard to get your hands on.
WWD: You call them slippers, but can they be worn outdoors?
C.A.: They have an outdoor sole, but we call them slippers just because of magical element of calling them a slipper reminds people of The Wizard of Oz.
WWD: What will your new line be like?
C.A.: We have some new designs, and are adding some special details. The shoes are shaped a little differently. The new line is a little more fashion forward, versus our classic line, which is classic and cute.