Tyler resident Sky Singleton has always had a passion for fashion and sneakers. With her love for both, she has been carving a path to give back to the community by customizing and restoring shoes.
For Singleton, shoes are more than just an item used as an accessory for an outfit. This is why she came up with a nonprofit aimed at families who can’t afford shoes for their children called Kickz4Kidz.
Kickz4Kidz will cater to children who want “nicer” shoes but can’t afford them.
“Shoes are one of those things that us as adults and parents don’t take seriously. We’re like ‘Oh it’s just shoes,’ but at school, it’s totally different. We live in a very materialistic world, unfortunately. There are kids that want shoes or nicer shoes but don’t have the opportunity to have those,” Singleton said.
With the nonprofit, she plans on restoring any type of shoe and turning it into something “everybody wants” by using her artistic gift. Singleton is currently asking for shoe donations with a goal of pairing with local businesses to set up drop-off locations for the nonprofit.
“I want people to donate their old shoes. I want to partner up with different businesses for drop-off spots and then give them back to the community for those who are less fortunate. Shoes can be very expensive, it’s one less thing to worry about for parents,” she said.
Drop-off locations will accept any shoe donation for Kickz4Kidz. The shoes will be restored and customized for children for a better price or for free.
“I am open to any shoe. It’s better to recycle and give them a new life than throw them away. Shoes don’t have to be name brand or expensive,” she said.
She is currently in search of more businesses in Tyler to help and she’s asking for a chance to set up a drop-off box.
Singleton has an 11-year-old son and emphasized how expensive shoes are.
“There have been times where I’ve struggled to purchase my son’s shoes. If you can have that burden lifted off you as a parent and still give your kids something of quality for little to nothing, I would love to be a part of that,” Singleton said.
Singleton has experience in managing shoe stores at Journey locations around town. She said she always saw customers with customized shoes and it inspired her to combine her artistic side with her love for shoes.
Just like others, Singleton said COVID-19 affected her job and caused her to be laid off. Losing her main income allowed her to pick up a shoe customization hobby that soon turned into a business, SkyKickz.
With SkyKickz, she paints on any shoe canvas, clothing, hat, backpack and even does paintings.
Customers are able to provide a theme, color scheme or characters for item customizations. Singleton is often given full creative control over the item but she’s open to recreate provided visuals.
“I just did some autism awareness ones, they were pretty cool. They gave me creative freedom and they just wanted it to represent autism with the puzzle pieces. Those are probably my favorite ones that I’ve done,” she said.
Singleton is also a flag football coach for the Tyler Hurricane youth football team, which makes her have a packed schedule. She’s currently searching for a co-painter for her business.
She said the turnaround time for the shoes is two to three weeks.
Custom fees range from $120 to $175 plus the cost of the shoe or people can bring their own shoe.
Singleton said the Tyler community has been really supportive.
“Being a minority business owner is huge and we need more successful minority businesses,” she said. “The purpose of a small business is to give back to the community. It should be a constant circle. It should be, ‘Let’s come together and build Tyler.’”
People can make orders or request drop-off locations at @Custom skykickz on Instagram, Sky Kickz on Facebook or skykickz.com.