Main Content

Back to Blog List

  • 29 July 2015
  • Nicole Cox

United Problem Solvers™: Packing and Shipping Couture Footwear for New York Runway Debut

At The UPS Store, we’re focused on solving our customers’ problems. We take pride in providing creative and effective solutions to any challenge. From offering a secure business mailbox with a real street address to packing and shipping couture shoes with care, we tailor our services to meet the customer’s needs.  As a continuation of our new United Problem Solvers campaign, we’re sharing the story of how The UPS Store has become an integral part of a growing fashion business.

When Ashley Urbauer’s grandmother taught her to sew at an early age, little did she know it would ultimately lead her to start a business. Raised in a family of hard-working, self-made people, Ashley inherited the entrepreneurial spirit. A simple sewing lesson sparked the creativity and drive she needed to create LivLuadi shoes.

You have to be confident in yourself and see obstacles as learning opportunities.

Fast forward a few years and Ashley was in college, completing her final year of nursing school. She had two children and could not get a regular job because of her demanding school schedule. One night while watching TV, she saw a pair of shoes she fell in love with. Ashley decided to recreate the shoes but put her own twist on them. She posted her custom shoe design on her Etsy website to see what would happen.

“They literally blew up overnight,” Ashley said. “I started receiving orders from all over the world, and I was shipping shoes as far away as Australia and Barbados. This unexpected success was really a godsend for me. It helped me pay all my bills for my last year of nursing school.”

Eventually Ashley decided she wanted to turn shoe design into a real business instead of just a hobby. She relocated from Ohio to Las Vegas, wrote a business plan, got a mentor and created a real website. LivLuadi shoes was born. Specializing in high-quality, high-class shoes and accessories, Ashley hand crafts each pair of shoes and every order is custom-made. Her main target is the bridal industry and she can customize shoes to fit the theme of the wedding or match the color scheme.

“Brides have this huge, emotional moment when they find the perfect wedding dress but their options for shoes are very limited,” said Ashley. “My goal, with every shoe I make, is to invoke this same gripping reaction when the brides see their shoes for the first time.”

Beyond brides, Ashley can create one-of-a-kind shoe designs for any occasion including sweet 16 birthdays, quinceañeras, bachelorette parties, or just because. LivLuadi has even captured the attention of New York’s Couture Fashion Week, whose creator invited Ashley to do a collaboration on the runway. Ashley couldn’t resist this amazing opportunity and committed to make 30 pairs of shoes in 14 days, working from dusk ‘til dawn to ensure every detail was flawless. The next step was to get the shoes from Las Vegas to the New York runway, which is how she found her local The UPS Store.

“The staff at The UPS Store was wonderful,” said Ashley. “I came in with my couture shoes packed in a moving box and the associate informed me that moving boxes were not recommended to use for shipping —especially delicate items. She offered to repack the shoes for me and used a much more durable box and packing materials to protect the fragile shoes. When I got to New York and unpacked, every embellishment was intact, and the shoes were in immaculate condition.”

Ashley assisted every model backstage to ensure they looked picture perfect from head-to-toe, even stepping in to cover for a backstage coordinator that was late to arrive. The fashion show went off without a hitch. In fact, it was such a success, Ashley got a call a week later asking if she would like to franchise the event and create the inaugural Las Vegas Couture Fashion Week. Excited to expand from shoe design into the fashion show business, Ashley has now partnered with a production company and hopes to put Las Vegas on the map by hosting the first L3V Fashion Week in February 2016. With things falling into place, Ashley is excited to watch her dreams of owning a business come to fruition.

“Five years ago, I created my business plan but it’s really just been in the past two years, I’ve been comfortable calling myself an entrepreneur,” said Ashley. “Starting a business is a constant leap of faith. You work for free for a while but it’s amazing how suddenly things just come together and you start watching your dreams unfold.”

When asked for advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs, she said, “You have to be confident in yourself and see obstacles as learning opportunities. If you learn from them, you will find yourself growing. There is no such thing as failure and no such thing as competition. It’s all a mindset. Once you see those two categories as opportunities, you are setting yourself up for success.”

While being in the shoe design business was not in Ashley’s original plans, when this opportunity knocked, she ran with it. She sees it as a way to carry on her grandmother’s legacy — who tragically passed away from cancer.

There is no doubt Ashley’s grandmother would be proud to see that one sewing lesson has had such a profound impact on Ashley’s life and has allowed her to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams.

Back to Blog List