My interest in shoe care began in my father’s shoe repair shop, Mosley’s Shoe Hospital. My father, J. Paris Mosley, became Deaf at six months of age due to scarlet fever and trained as a shoemaker at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Mt. Airy, Pennsylvania. After working for Tony D’Armi in Dover, Delaware for many years, he built his own shoe repair shop (Mosley’s Shoe Hospital).
Because it was right next to our home and my father was raising me as a single parent, the shop was a part of my everyday life even when I was a young child. Even now, the smell of a shoe shop—the distinct smell of leather especially—return me to those happy childhood days. My earliest memory is of helping in the shop when I was just 5 years old. If my father had trouble understanding customers I would interpret for him or, since he was also colorblind, I would help him select the correct color when dying shoes. I had my own little table and my father taught me sign language in between shoe repair jobs.
At that time, Dover was a small, rural town and he had some notoriety as the only deaf businessman in the area. He was known to be honest and lovable and was thought to be the best shoe repairman around. He was certainly my favorite shoe repairman. My father always made sure my shoes were cleaned and shined to perfection.
When he passed away in 1984, I couldn’t find anyone to take care of my shoes properly. I began experimenting with different shoe care products and eventually hit upon the lotion that became Mosley’s Shoe Cosmetics. It isn’t a conventional shoe care product—. Eventually I altered it for use with shoes and leather accessories. I wanted to take care of my family’s shoes the way that my father took care of my shoes. Sometimes we can be rough on our shoes—my daughter is an equestrian and gives her riding boots plenty of abuse—but they always come out looking new at the end of the day.
Friends, family, and even strangers started asking for the lotion and Mosley’s Shoe Cosmetics was born. Mosley’s Shoe Cosmetics is a family business run by me, my husband Howard, and our daughters Ilea and Karelle.
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