ABOUT CHICKPEA KID
They say the cobbler's children have no shoes, but that couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to Emily Spray.
This Portland, Oregon-native moved to NYC in late-1980s and took courses at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). At FIT she honed her shoe-making talents in the Accessories Design program, and worked in the custom-shoe field for a time.
Her next step was returning to school (Hunter College in this case), to major in Creative Writing. Emily parlayed her training into storytelling and songwriting; the latter skill enabled her collaboration with her singer/songwriter husband, Matt Keating.
Launched in 2006, the Chickpea Kid line of handmade shoes is the result of all of Emily's accumulated know-how, topped with a heavy dose of motherhood; she and Matt are raising a daughter (and elected to educate her in the New York City public school system). She makes shoes she wants her own daughter to wear: by sourcing materials from American suppliers (including many in NYC); by designing the shoes to be unstructured and flexible, "which are the healthiest kind for tender, growing feet," she says; by making her products by hand in her Long Island City studio, and by crafting a story of something timeless with a modern twist of whimsical color.
As it turns out, the cobbler's child is incredibly well-heeled, in lambskin ballet slippers, leather buckle shoes and cowhide cowboy boots.