We Interview BORN ORIGINALS' Sneaker Customizer Vanessa And Get An Unique Fizzy Sneaker

Making the streets more individual one sneaker at a time.


In the quiet city of Wilhelmshaven at the Northsea Shore in Germany lies the dream of every sneakerhead, who strives individuality but ain’t got no creativity — Born Originals. The customization brand made it their mission to create individual sneakers by using them as the canvas of original designs. Even though they offer a selection of motifs, each sneaker is handpainted and unique.

We met with one of the painters in Hamburg to talk about creativity, customization and of course sneakers. Vanessa Herold is a 22-year-old student from Oldenburg, who got randomly recruited and never dreamed of painting on sneakers for a living. Her bubbly personality showed through when telling us why she loves her job so much:

How did you get into illustrating?

Vanessa: My parents have always painted and been artistic and that infected me quite a bit. That's why I started painting with my dad. Because of that, I was very tempted to be creative and to make that my job.

Did you customize sneakers before working at Born Originals?

Vanessa: I never thought of painting sneakers before. *laughs* When I was recruited by Born Originals, I first fell in love with this art form.

How did you come to Born Originals?

Vanessa: Our founder Melvin Lamberty wrote to me because he saw that I was studying art and wondered if I wanted to apply. So I sent him my portfolio and it just fitted right away — so I ended up there.

What's special about the sneaker customizing for you?

Vanessa: What I find special here is that everyone can express their personality and have an individual shoe that really suits their style. You can paint everything on it and everyone can express what they want.

Which sneaker is your favorite canvas?

Vanessa: Of course, I find our own shoes perfect for painting, especially the low women's shoe with the platform sole. You just notice when painting that it is a special sneaker with high-quality leather. But otherwise, Nike Air Force 1 is just a shoe that was always there.

A classic.

Vanessa: Exactly, just a classic.

Do you already have your own Customized Collection?

Vanessa: At the moment I'm working on it, in the shop I do not have any own motives yet, just because I'm a perfectionist and I want the first shoe I bring out to be perfect — perfectly representing Born Originals and me. But I've already refined shoes for friends and family, for example.

Do you also customize your own shoes?

Vanessa: This is exactly the same as with my first motive - I want my first shoes to be just perfect, so I have not finished one yet. I'm a real late bloomer *laughs*, everyone else in the company already has their own.

And what does a normal working day look like for you?

Vanessa: First I have to drive half an hour to Wilhelmshaven, but the job is just worth it for me. *laughs* When I arrive, everyone chats first and it is said, what today's program is and how many and which sneakers have been ordered. Then I start painting directly, in the background we have music running. I spend the whole day and can just relax.

How long do you usually work on a sneaker?

Vanessa: Of course, that depends on the subject. On average, I would say about 1 to 2 hours.

Where do you get your inspiration from if you do not implement designs from your own assortment?

Vanessa: Of course most orders are for designs from our own range, otherwise, I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and actually from everywhere. I just believe that inspiration comes in our everyday lives, you just have to recognize them.

What is your favorite motive right now?

Vanessa: I really like the Lips on the Swoosh from our fixed assortment. That was the first motive I painted and is one of the most popular designs. That's why it just accompanies me, all the time.

And which products do you like the most?

Vanessa: My faithful companion is the brush and leather paint of course.

What about pens or fabrics?

Vanessa: For me, the paint actually works best. Pens just don’t hold as well. I have actually not worked with yarn or fabrics yet, but that's a cool idea. *laughs*


Head over to Born Originals to get your own unique kicks.



Next up, A Studio Visit With The Super-Crafty Customizer Behind SOLESclusive