American Made Since 2005

Annie Mohaupt

Chicago, Illinois
Mohop specializes in handmade interchangeable shoes that allow nearly infinite design options with just one pair of (comfy!) soles.

Tell us about your business.

I established Mohop in 2005 to satisfy a craving to work more with my hands. As a former architect, the intersection of form and function shapes the basis of my design philosophy and translates perfectly to the world of footwear. My favorite materials are found in the world of architecture and interiors - sustainably sourced woods, exquisite upholstery made from recycled bottles, flooring composed of tire rubber, gorgeous decorative nails and other unique or innovative materials inspire me. I love to manipulate these materials using both traditional methods such as hand screen printing, sawing, and sanding, as well as non-traditional methods such as computer numerical control (CNC) routing, laser cutting, and soon, 3D printing. I'm a big nerd and am super excited about all the fun to come further exploring traditional and non-traditional materials and techniques in order to make footwear that delights with unique materials, innovative forms and, of course, a comfortable fit!

What makes your business stand out?

The most fundamental unique characteristic of my business is simply that there are very few shoemakers in the US - or worldwide for that matter. Furthermore, I am self-taught, so while some of my techniques are based on traditional shoemaking, other methods come from the world of architecture, woodworking and computer-assisted manufacturing. My "mad scientist" basement prototyping adventures even lead me to a patent on my original interchangeable design! The aspect of my business that I'm most excited about is the collaborative nature of my footwear designs. I make the base of the shoes, but the upper ties and decorative accessories can be made by other artists and designers such as jewelers, fiber artists, and fashion designers - and then our customers literally tie it all together! It's so exciting and gratifying to see Mohop fans and collaborators transform shoes that started out as my babies into their own unique creations, reflecting their individual style and personality.

What's the best business advice you've received?

The best business advice I've received was simply "keep going" from my family, friends and supporters. Running, and trying to grow, a small business can be incredibly taxing emotionally, physically, intellectually - really, in every way. There are times when I become utterly exhausted and buried with work, yet the support of my loved ones keeps me pushing hard and has sustained me through the past 8 years of running Mohop. Just keeping carrying on, especially when times are tough, has taught me the fulfillment of hard work, the satisfaction of solving complicated problems, and the absolute joy of the relationships I've formed over the years with my fellow workers, collaborators, and especially my customers. I could not be more grateful to my customers for not just financially sustaining my business, but even more for their kindness, enthusiasm and warm friendship that truly makes each day brighter!

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 9, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    Vote now
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

More Finalists

  • Vote For Me

    Pura Naturals

    Jim Kordenbrock
    Pura Naturals makes soap-infused sponges out of BeBetterFoam™ - an earth conscious material that absorbs oil, resists bacteria & stays fresh.
    Design, Homekeeping
  • Vote For Me

    Uber Herbal

    Elizabeth Bretko
    I'm a tea blender & brewer, farmer & foodivist. I brew various spicy elixirs & process our local food bounty into Small Batch Seasonal Wonders.
    Food, Agriculture & Sustainability
  • Vote For Me

    Detroit Fiber Works

    Mandisa Smith
    I create "adornments for body and home" through the process of felting, using silk gauze, merino wool, and textured yarns, often dyed with plants
    Crafts, Fiber Crafts
  • Vote For Me

    Shimmy Shack

    Debra Levantrosser
    We are Michigan's first and only 100% vegan food truck!! We make burgers, fries, shakes, chili, nachos and cookies - - all VEGAN. Go Shimmy!
    Food, Restaurateur