She's filling big shoes

Mallory Musante will leave behind her home-based business this week to head down to Manhattan for all the glitz and glamour surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Musante is the owner and lead designer of the Mystic-based Mallory Musante Shoes. She says a young New York City fashion designer named Keo will be showing during the fashion week on Wednesday, and 10 of Musante's distinctive shoes will be worn by models.

While the Keo show isn't affiliated with the Fashion Week, it still gives Musante a prime opportunity to showcase her shoes to those gathered in Manhattan for all the various fashionista festivities.

Musante has certainly been busy growing her business. She just participated in the StyleWeek Providence showcase where her shoes were worn by reality star Alex McCord, who is in her fourth season on "The Real Housewives of New York City."

Musante is a self-described female shoe-preneur. She began her one-woman business in 2009. The 22-year-old is a graduate of Fitch Senior High School in Groton and holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Bryant University in Rhode Island. Her combination of painting talent and marketing savvy has produced plenty of publicity about her custom-shoe company. In addition, Musante is adept at a host of social media to spread the word about her brand, including copious use of Twitter and Facebook.

Since she's painted her whole life, she says it was a seamless transition to go from painting on canvas to painting on shoe leather. "I took a painting class at Fitch," she says, "which kind of got me into it. I did it as a hobby afterwards and then it kind of evolved into the whole shoe thing."

She begins the process with custom-manufactured shoes. "The paint is specifically designed to be painted on leather shoes," she says, "and I also use an acrylic finish to protect it even more." Her shoes retail from around $100 to limited editions for up to $195. Musante says she has big plans for her small business. Eventually, she hopes to be able to bring aboard other artists, and ultimately the Mystic entrepreneur has a goal of mass producing her stylish shoes.

Anthony Cronin is The Day's business editor

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