The Twinkle Toes Story
For as long as she can remember, Lisa was dreaming up things she could make to sell. Her mom taught her to sew when she was 8 years old, and she quickly turned that into an enterprise, making madras headbands with elastic in the back, which she sold at the local Clothing Exchange. Young Lisa was thrilled when her profits were enough to buy her first brand new bike! Over the years she studied art, woodworking, blacksmithing, and photography. After completing college in New Hampshire, she started her own Sign Painting & Logo Design business.
In 1982, adventure called and Lisa moved to Alaska with an invitation to become “Camp Cook & Log Peeler” for the construction of a remote log cabin. When that project was complete, she ventured up to the North Slope and got a job at the Deadhorse Post Office. There she met her future husband, who instantly nicknamed her Twinkle Toes. She resumed her “Sure Signs” business on the side and kept that up until having her first daughter, Emma, at which time she put her business on hold to focus on being a mom.
Emma was about 6 months old when Lisa became exasperated by following a constant trail of kicked off socks & booties around the house! So, of course, she set about developing a pattern for baby booties that would stay on little feet. She found that, as with her headbands, elastic was the key to holding the booties in place. They worked so well that her friends all wanted them for their kids. Soon her husband said, “Where’s my pair, honey?” So, she used his foot to make the Men’s size 11-12 pattern. She collected all the other shoe sizes from various friends, and a new business was born. The name for her brand was easy since Lisa already had a nickname having to do with feet–Twinkle Toes, and the men’s became Tundra Toes. She also was able to make use of her experience to create her own logo and paint her own signs.
Fast forward to her second daughter–Heather–coming along, and the need to keep everybody toasty during the family’s outdoor adventures, which included camping, fishing, and the girls racing sled dogs, more ideas blossomed for Lisa. New designs included the instantly popular “Star Hats” and wonderfully colored fleece pullovers. Everything that was designed for the kids gradually evolved into Adult versions, and shortly thereafter, the Wild Outer Wear name was added for the clothing portion of her product line.
Her daughters are now adults and still inspire new designs. There’s nothing more gratifying to Lisa than seeing her first granddaughter, Hadlee, and her generation, enjoying the designs she created for her children. Everything is still made right here at her shop in a restored Colony Barn looking out on Pioneer Peak in the beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley. She loves seeing the smiles on customers’ faces when they slip into their first pair, and then getting to know the families as they return year after year!