About Us

Debbie Gruber, Shoe Sprinkles founder

Photos on this page were courtesy of the amazing photographer, Mikkel Paige

Hello, my name is Debbie Gruber and I’m the founder of Shoe Sprinkles. I grew up in New York City and currently live in Long Island, New York with my husband and two college-aged sons, Andrew and Zach. I love my family to the moon and back, but honestly, they sometimes drive me a little crazy. Lucky, my fur baby, never drives me crazy. He’s just a sweet bundle of love.

A few random things:

  • I am extremely sensitive, even TV commercials can make me cry.
  • The beach is my happy place, it literally calms my soul. The smell of the salt, the sound of the waves, the feel of the sand beneath my feet - all of it brings me peace. 
  • I'm addicted to coffee. I need lots of it to get me going in the morning!   

I have a good life, but my childhood was less than stellar. My dad emotionally abused me, while my mom stood by and allowed the cruelty to continue. Only once did my dad tell me he loved me, blurting it out in a fit of rage, “Debbie, I love you but you’re an animal. You’re disgusting.”

Imitating what I had experienced, my younger self was often unkind. I did and said things that I am ashamed of, stuff I’ll always regret. One day it dawned on me, I was becoming just like him . . . cruel. I knew I needed to find another path.

I discovered that kindness, being good to people, helping people, having compassion for others, feels really good. Being cruel is the opposite. It feels lousy. And, when we are kind to each other, the world becomes a better place.

When I think about how I want to live my life, I realize I am driven toward one goal: to leave the world a little bit better by spreading kindness. My goal feels huge and intimidating, and often impossible. However, I can’t let that stop me.

Spreading Kindness

One of the most impactful things we do would not be possible without you, our awesome customers. With each purchase, we provide 18 meals to families in need.

Also, Shoe Sprinkles spreads kindness through storytelling, inspirational messages, charitable and community projects, and in a small way, through our shoe designs.

How in the world do our hand painted loafers spread kindness? That's a two-part answer:

  • Our shoe designs are inspired by stunning places, gorgeous objects, and the magnificence of nature. We deliberately created them to evoke heartwarming memories and beautiful imagery. Our goal is to make you feel happy every time you slip them on your feet.    
  • Here’s the best part: it's been scientifically proven that happy people are more likely to be kind, and kind people are more likely to be happy. It's a joyous spiral where happiness leads to kindness, which leads to more happiness, which leads to more kindness, and so on.

Our Furry Team Leader

Lucky Gruber, Shoe Sprinkles team leader

Lucky, my sweet Havanese, is our team leader. I know what you’re thinking, "how can a dog be a team leader?" It’s simple. As we paint shoes and fill orders, he encourages everyone to do their best by providing unconditional love and support. Plus, his antics make us laugh. What more can any team ask for?

We don’t worry about him chewing the inventory. He prefers chomping down on leather shoes, not canvas.