By Everett Brazil
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Allison Schneeberger has long had a love of all things country. Growing up in a small town, she has immersed herself into the lifestyle, from the clothing, to raising cattle and showing them in 4-H and FFA. She also has a love of crafting and as a young Newkirk High School student, has found a way to combine those two passions, as she has created her own business to provide custom designs on western clothing, all to bring arts to the countryside.
“I love making things, I love art, so I went from there,” she gushed about her artistic passions.
Schneeberger doesn’t create shoes, rather she customizes them for those who will wear them.
“They bring them to me, and they pay for the beadwork,” she said. “I (also) paint white canvas shoes. I can do a full bead stitching, and they are really cute, too.”
Though still in high school, she has made a market all her own, all drawn from a love of arts and crafts, grounded in a background in the country.
The Schneeberger family lives on a farm near Newkirk, where Allison is involved in livestock production, and shows some of her animals in shows as a Newkirk FFA member. It is there where she draws her inspiration for her designs.
“She loves sunsets and being outside, so that’s where she’s getting ideas – they’re based on nature,” said her mother, Rachel Schneeberger.
Allison’s business began in 2021, but really goes much further back, when she simply loved beadwork and art.
“I loved necklaces and earrings, and that is where it all started, and people were in support,” Allison said. “I like to be creative.”
A chance trip to visit family friends in southwest Texas set aflame a desire to bring her creative magic to life.
“My parents’ best friends live in Texas, and one weekend, we went down there, and she had a lot of extra jewelry making supplies,” Allison said. “She gave me all her jewelry making supplies, and I started making them.”
It wasn’t long before she began exploring her own entrepreneurial aspirations, and making them known to her parents.
“We were really shocked, but we encouraged her, because we always want our kids to know that age does not define ability,” Rachel said.
Allison makes beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings, but her primary focus is shoes, specifically Hey Dudes, as well as canvas shoes. In each case, the customer buys the shoes, with Allison adding the decorations. She primarily does beadwork on Hey Dude shoes, but decorative painting she adds to canvas shoes.
“Painting takes about two – three hours, not long at all,” she said. “Beading takes four – eight hours, four for each shoe.”
Much work goes into the shoes long before she sits down to do the work.
“She has to draw everything out on graph paper so she knows how many beads they use,” Rachel said. “There is a lot of mathematics involved.”
She has learned so many other concepts, especially on social media, including Instagram and TikTok, where she does most of her work.
“I’ve learned a lot about social media, about the algorithm, how to target certain audiences,” she said, adding that most of her clientele are women. “They are definitely people who like ag, or the west, many of them women.”
Her work has reached far distances, and not just Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, but the far reaches of the Midwest, including Minnesota and Michigan.
“It has been nerve wracking, but it is also exciting because people are ordering from me!” she exclaimed. “It’s has been unbelievable.”
The community has given her immense success, which is tantamount to a small town, local people helping young members realize a dream.
“That is great about Newkirk, everyone has been so supportive of her, even if they aren’t buying it, and it builds her up,” Rachel said. “I don’t think other communities could say that.”
She has plans to further her education in jewelry making, especially with silver, all in an effort to bring beauty to her local community.
“I want to try silversmithing (at Oklahoma State University), and my dream is to have a boutique business, “ Allison said.