“I am a mother, a wife and a shoe artist all at the same time”
(Artist of the month Ms. Dora Delima of Shaps)
Written by: Dorothey Shane Mercado of Angelus Importer PH/Sneaks & Laces
Did you hear about “SHAPS”? Do you know the person behind its wonderful customs?
According to a remarkable artist Jackson Pollock, “painting is a self- discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.” Therefore every beautiful painting that is made reflects the personality of whoever painted it.
Most of the well-known artists in lined with painting are men. Da vinci, Picasso, Van gough and Michaelangelo are all in the list of the greatest painters. It is indeed rare to find a renaissance female artist. In this modern world, everyone is seen fairly. Everyone is given the same chances and opportunity.
Let us meet a wonderful female artist inclined with the industry of shoe customization, Dora Delima. She is a caring mother, a loving wife and an amazing shoe artist. She owns a growing shoe customization business which she named “Shaps”. The question is, how can she fill all her roles?
Witness and trace back all the insights on how our featured artist built her dream, piece by piece and now that she is at the peak of her career, how she was able to maintain to be at the top of what she does.
When did your passion and business for painting and customizing start?
“Passion is when you commit yourself to the things you love to do 24/7”
“I have been painting since I was in grade school. I really did not have passion back then. I was young and the talent just comes naturally. It is in the family but no one really got the chance to have a formal education because we were poor. So I took advantage of the talent and use it to earn money when I was in high school. I sold my first painting for PhP3,000.00 to my teacher. The feeling was really nice. But I felt that I still do not have the passion, I just want to use my talent to get money. When I was a bit older I had fine art friends who do shoe painting, but they were so damn good and I was just nothing compared to them so I did not try to paint on shoes. When I was working, a colleague asked me if I want to start a business. Shoe painting it is, everything was his idea, I just kind of liked it because I want to earn extra. After a year of working hard, I just realized I am getting really passionate about SHAPS. That’s when I finally understood that passion is when you commit yourself to the things you love to do 24/7. Shaps is not just merely making a living for me, it has become my life. You know what they say, if you do what you love for a living, then you would not work a single day in you life.
Did you experience any difficulty in running your business? If yes, what were these difficulties and how did you cope with it?
The most difficult experience is when I was starting, I did not have any idea on how to price my customs, because I want to earn big time but I do not want to make the shoes very expensive. I want it to be affordable so everyone can enjoy having customized shoes. I came up with different options so customers can choose between more affordable priced shoes and expensive ones.
So far, with God’s help, I have not encountered problems that would drag my business and I down. Everything is just copacetic; working in my business seems like a dream within a dream. In lined with minor problems, I consult Google with it. Google became my handy friend since I started my business. It never let me down, so I came up with this saying, “When in doubt, google it!”
Do you plan on having this business permanently or would you like to to try other forms of businesses?
“Rose hand painted bag for Miss Jennan Tan using Angelus Paint”
Yes, I plan to have this business as long as forever. I think I want to train and hire someone to carry out Shap’s works and customs. Hopefully I could influence my son with this form of art, so he would be the one to carry and expand Shap’s legacy when I am gone.
Since shoe painting is a male dominated industry nowadays, do other people question your abilities and skills as a female shoe artist? How do you feel about that?
“A candid photo of Ms. Dora Delima in action”
(Tattoo for a cause December 19,2017)
As what I have observed, since we are now living in a modern era, being a male or a female artist does not really matter, as long as you are a person who has the skills and talent, everyone would be happy to admire that. Not once in my painting career that I was questioned as being a female shoe artist. I even think that people now are delighted to know that even us, women are competitive when it comes to arts such as shoe painting.
Do you see yourself as a model for women empowerment? Why?
I honestly think that I do not have the right to say that I am a “model” for women empowerment, but if a woman would really feel empowered or be inspired because of what I do, I would be very much honored. I salute artists who are trying their best to make this world a better place regardless of their genders, races or generally speaking, regardless of whom they are.
Being a mother to your child, are there any impacts on you, being a shoe artist on how you raise your child? Or is it a mask on- mask off routine for you?
Ha! For now, since my son is just three years old, I would say that it is kind of a mask on and mask off routine. Of course he still a child, if I painted around him then his curiosity would spark and I would not be able to focus on my task, though I would love him to be “into” shoe painting. I usually paint whenever my son is asleep, because whenever he is awake, I would just really focus all my energy and attention to him, as most mothers would do. In the long run, I could really see that he would be someday be as interested in shoe painting as I am now.
How are you balancing your time, effort and energy between your passion and your family?
It is just easy! I make my family my priority, because after all, aside from painting is my passion, my family is the reason why I still continue doing what I do. Helping out on paying the bills and other expenses is what motivates me and pushes me to really work hard. To balance everything, I give my full effort , energy and time every morning to my family, but every night, when everyone is asleep, I would consider it as my “me and business time”, so this would be the time when I do my customization with all of my effort and energy. I would never be tired doing what I love, doing something for my loved ones. I guess, that is the secret of balancing all about your life.
What is the best feeling or experience that shoe customization gave you?
“Gintama inspired hand painted shoes using Angelus Products on Keds”
The best feeling is not the part that I earned, yes it helps in making me relieved because I could pay the bills for this month, but it does not really give me that intrinsic reward. As an artist, I portray who I really am through painting, so who I am is what you see through my customs. So the best feeling the yields from that is when I know that a customer is very satisfied with their shoes that I customized. When they brag their shoes by posting it on their social media accounts or be referring a friend to have their shoes customized , that is what really makes me happy, because I know that I gave justice to their money and because I now knew that my works are worth bragging for. It is more of a “self-esteem” thing.
What is your foundation or source of strength in terms of handling your business? Why?
The very foundation of my strength is just one thing, and I think it is the most important thing the world. Love is what keeps me going. Love for my family is the number one on my list, and then followed by my love for arts. Probably, without love, everything would be useless and blunt.
What advice could you give to all female artists out there who are being criticized and questioned as an artist?
If you are being bashed because you are a female artist, the best way to get back to them is to be “not like them”, because not doing of what they do is a thin line that would separate you from them. In faster ways, just do not mind them. People who feed on other people’s misery would just come and go, somehow if you learned the art of ignoring; you would not even notice that they attempted to ruin who you are. They are just like rotten tomatoes, if you stick to their ideologies, it will just ruin everything. So get yourself out of their negativity and mind your own business. After all, their opinions will not matter when we all die, so please do not stress yourself with what they say.
How do Angelus Products/Sneaks and Laces have helped you in your profession/business?
Since I started painting shoes, I have always wanted to use the well renowned Angelus water based acrylic paint. Not only for the very reason that it is the most popular and widely used product for customizing shoes worldwide, but rather, it is to provide better quality for my hand painted shoes entrusted by my customers.
The problem which i have back then was the procurement, It was not available here in the Philippines. I cannot afford to order them online and have them shipped, until I stumbled upon Sneaks and Laces on Instagram. This was an opportunity, which would enable me to buy Angelus Products!
I would like to thank them for making my dream possible by bringing Angelus here in the Philippines and making it available to artists like me. On top of that would be the superb customer service they render to us. To all aspiring artists, do not hesitate to transact and ask them questions especially if you are just starting, they would surely assist you and that i could guarantee.
Lastly, what insights could you give to working moms who are having a difficulty in balancing their time, effort and energy between their passion, work and their role in the family?
To all working moms out there this would be my advice for you. First of all, ask yourself “why am I having difficulty, what could be the root cause of this?” Because when you finally realized the cause of why are you being torn between your passion and your motherhood, you would finally know what to do. Knowing is half the battle in balancing. Next step is knowing what to do, and how to eliminate the source of the difficulty. At this moment, you should know what sacrifices you should make. By the word sacrifice, I am not saying that you should give either your passion or your role as being a mother, what I really mean is; you should learn how to rank your priorities. Know how to manage your time, I do believe in this bible verse, Ecclesiastes 3:1 “Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.” So if you think that your child still needs more attention, time and effort from you then allocate it all to him, because your child will soon grow up, and when he or she finally is ready for mommy’s divided time , then that would be your “moment” to do what you love.
A short reminder from Angelus Importer Ph / Sneaks & Laces
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“The Dream Catcher”