Designing Women - First Prints

My favourite part of the designing women series is that I get to know amazing women. Women who are doing what they love and have the entrepreneurial spirit. Alyssa is all of these things AND she is an absolute doll. Truly lovely!

I was so excited when she agreed to be a part of our designing women series and answer a few questions.

I hope you get to know Alyssa and her beautiful moccasins!
Photo by @firstprints

Welcome, Alyssa! First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you came up with the idea to start First Prints?

Thank you so much for this opportunity! A little bit about me! I grew up with a large family! I have 6 siblings who are all married and have kids so I am an auntie to 18 nieces and nephews so I have been surrounded by babies my entire life and it has been so fun! Something I had always noticed was that there was always a lack in adorable kids shoes that go with everything! I have always been interested in trying new things and trying to figure out how to make things, so the first time I saw moccs was last summer and I thought to myself I wonder if I could make something like that. Now with no past sewing experience what soever I thought it could be a little hobby for me to figure out and see where it goes! So I went to Michael's the craft store and bought a couple of little pieces of hide and I cut out pieces of what I thought it would take to make a pair of moccs and my amazing husband found a great sewing machine for me that has been incredible! After a couple months of late nights and lots of tears of frustration I finally felt like I had figured it out and viola First Prints was born! My husband designs websites so he created a website for me and I went and bought my first hides and came out with more colors and styles and launched the end of November of 2013!

You have partnered with JAM International, an African non-profit that focuses on feeding hungry children in Africa. Can you please tell us how that partnership began and why it is so dear to your heart?

When I was going through the process of creating First Prints I knew off the bat that I wanted to give back to kids somehow but I didn't know which charity would be best for us that can take our finances as far as possible. I went to church on a Sunday and there was a special speaker from Africa who happened to be the founder of JAM and it just completely touched me what he had to say and the way he and his wife run JAM. They have literally cut every corner and farm their own food so their cost is literally $65.00 a YEAR to feed a child and that just brought me so much happiness. So our reason for choosing JAM was because with the finances that we are able to give we are still able to feed a numerous amount of children in a year.

What do you love most about being a Canadian designer?

What I love about being a Canadian designer is the support you receive!! It has been incredible to get so much local support and also national! Everyone is super supportive and encouraging and after busy days just getting an email saying that a customer loves their shoes or seeing a picture I get tagged in on Instagram just warms my heart. But this also goes for all my international customers! I absolutely love everyone!!!

Your moccasins stay on little Harrison's feet so well! How long did it take you to perfect the fit?

Photo by @firstprints
I love hearing when moms are happy with how the shoes stay on their little kiddos feet and that was definitely not an over night thing to figure out. It was all about how tight I sew the elastic but it also had a role in how I sewed the ankles! It was definitely apart of the first couple months of just figuring the ins and outs! I do find myself still learning and trying new tactics! Anything to make them better! 

Who are your favourite designers you follow on Instagram at the moment?

My favorite designers definitely vary! I absolutely love Kardzkouture. She makes amazing prints! Then Yarningmade for their baby blankets & also Janessaleone who makes stunning fedoras! There really are endless designers that I follow and it's so hard to just pick a few favorites!! Everyone inspires me in different ways!

You started First Prints in November 2013. What were you doing before? Have you always had an interest in this line of work?

Before I started First Prints I had always wanted to start my own thing but I just wasn't sure what it was going to be. I have such a huge interest in so many things so it was next to impossible to narrow something down. I absolutely love the kids market and I am enjoying so much being apart of it! I am still doing what I have done for so long and that is working with a Chiropractor. I absolutely love meeting a wide array of people on a daily basis!

As someone who loves shoes, and wishes she had these fashionable moccasins as a child, can you tell me if you were always into shoes? Do you remember the first pair of shoes you bought?

I have ALWAYS been into shoes!! I remember as a child I was very particular
Photo by @firstprints
about my shoes! I have my mom and dad to blame for that! My mom always had these spectacular heels in her closet that I would sneak in and try on! My first pair of shoes as a baby were a pair of white leather cowboy boots with with red cactus detailing. I still have them and I want to give them to my future daughter!

If you could live anywhere other than Canada, where would you live?

If I could live anywhere in the world other than Canada I think I would choose either Australia or somewhere in England. Hahah I love both their accents! I would love the beaches of Australia but I absolutely love the history and old architecture of England I find it so romantic.

Do you plan on designing moccasins or other shoes for older children?

Right now I am working on another design of shoe for the same age range. At this point I love creating shoes for the ages I am presently working with but who knows what the future holds! 

What is your favourite way to spend a day off? 

My favorite thing to do on a day off is definitely spend time with my family. I feel like my week is complete when I get the chance to do that! I also absolutely love getting time to get out and go on an adventure with my husband! Moments together are definitely treasured! We like to go to the park, roller blade around Stanley Park, go for drives... you name it we like to do it! There is just so much to do in and around Vancouver! 

Photo by @firstprints


  1. Sooooo inspiring!!! Love her heart and her little moccs:)!



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