Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 22: Isa Zapata of Soulmates Collection is an inspiring artist and dog mom who used her love for her dogs, and really her entire positive outlook on life, to create a collection of wearable dog mom art. She talked to me about the journey to get where she is today, through many false starts and the long process it took to figure out how to make her dream a reality.
Isa Zapata is a dog mom and multi passionate ARTrepeneur. She’s been a full time artist for the past 11 years, with her art’s being featured in over 50 media outlets like CNN, The Huffington Post, Univision and the Miami Herald. Since Isa decided to follow her passion full time, she’s worn many hats, including the design of a children’s’ book.
In 2017, she developed the concept of Soulmates Collection. A movement that allows her to take everything she loves into one arena, like: dogs, art, shoes and making people happy!
Tori: Have you always been an artist?
Isa: I’ve been an artist in my mind my whole life. But of course my parents wanted me to follow another direction, so I got a Masters in Marketing. But I still painted. My style back then was very realistic streetscape scenes. Then when I moved to the States, from Colombia, my style totally changed for some reason! I started to create really colorful, almost childlike, paintings similar to my style now.
Tori: Was there a moment that you realized you could be a professional artist?
Isa: When I decided to go full time as an artist it was because I was fed up with having a boss! I had a really cool job, but I got fired right before Christmas one year. I realized I didn’t want my life to be dependent on someone else. Now I see that getting fired was a blessing because it forced me to make my art work!
Tori: Tell us more about how your came up with the idea for Soulmates Collection.
Isa: It started when I was at Hobby Lobby one day and found a kit to make espadrilles. I didn’t love the feel of the material that came with the kit. So I grabbed a pillow I had painted with a portrait of my husband and I and cut it up to use that instead. I was on one shoe, and he was on the other. The moment I saw the shoes I got goosebumps! I immediately knew it was the Soulmates Collection. We’re so different, but we’re always walking towards the same destinations. Your left foot is different that your right foot, but they compliment each other.
Tori: Can you tell us about the manufacturing process of the shoes?
Isa: When I began to figure out how to make the shoes I called my mom in Colombia and she said she had the perfect person to make them! So she had a prototype made. When I went down to see it, it was terrible! So I had to start over again. My cousin went with me to walk around the manufacturing district. We walked around talking to people for days. I spent the whole month that I was in Colombia trying to figure this out. Right as my trip was about to end I found a manufacturer that had a community of artisans. They made my first prototypes for me.
Tori: Tell us about how your dogs came to your life.
Isa: Well, I really wanted a dog but I didn’t want to force it. So one day I was meditating and I asked the universe to send me the dog I’m meant to be with. Pretty much right after that someone walked into my gym looking for a home for a puppy. That was my James!
Then one day my husband and I were dropping off a donation to an animal rescue when we met Gordo. We took him home to foster, but ended up falling in love with him! Now James and Gordo are best friends and they spend all day by my side.
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