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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

Well, it is a long story. I have been planning to release a ready-to-wear line since I realized, that there are more and more interest for it – it was like 2 years ago. I have made plenty steps, but I just never felt comfortable with the results – it is hard to explain. I wasn’t happy with the upper lines, the form, the technology – whatever worked great with the bespoke orders, somehow just didn’t show appropriate on the model, what I wanted to “mass produce”…  So anyway, I made my bespoke orders, and regularly develop a little bit on the last – that was definitely the OMG category… the hardest thing.

Last development

I wanted to start from a stock last and make some alterations with it… until I realized, thats tock last are created to factory use. What does it mean? Lack of comfort. Shortly. A bit longer: plenty small details which make the bespoke shoes better and more comfy. So I asked a last maker to give me a “blank last” to create my own style, then I face a problem – I need someone with a regular 43 size foot, not too wide, not too narrow, not too muscular, and no foot disease at all. So Every time I had a guest in my workshop, I asked him kindly to try a 43 (stock) shoes on, so he can tell his opinion about the fit. Then I found the right person. Young guy, just similar to my target market. Great. So go ahead, and make him some shoes, so he can test them! (lucky guy, isn’t he? 🙂 ) So I created the first shoes – pretty well fit, but the lines were still not good, somehow.. strange… then I found the solution.. in a 110 years old book! Unbelievable. It was just talking about my problems. Clearly my problems. Taking the fact that I won that book on an auction a year ago (it is a pretty rare piece, and only a few left), I should have check it before… my fault. Anyway: Those details were really useful! I realised something – shoemaking principals… at least some of them ,what I learned as axioms.. they aren’t. Shocking. I learned some of those thing, like sentences from the Holy Bible, and now I had to accept that some old guys wanted to change them a long time ago – without success. Anyway: shoemaking traditions are different in every countries. Hungarian traditions are pretty well preserved, you can still find materials, professionals – and some theories, which aren’t true. I don’t want to get into the details, for many reasons, but with my newly acquired knowledge I went to my favorite last factory, and made a consultation with the great team there – the we started to make those changes. Some of them went pretty easily, some of them must have been repeated till they believed that I really want that. I did. 3-4 turns and the last was ready. Then one more, and it was really ready. 🙂 (maybe I should stop now, but I just realized a few changes…  so that is the reason my RTW line is coming so slooooow)

Materials

There are some dilemmas: should I use a little bit cheaper materials, like everybody does? But I don’t like to deal with the quality. It is important for me. All of my shoes are printed with my beloved grandfather name – they shouldn’t be second grade quality… and anyway I say “made like bespoke” and “every piece is a masterpiece” I believe in it. So… no. I will use the same materials than the bespoke pieces have – JR soles, welt, stiffeners, heels, etc. so I can sleep well about it. Anyway – what is the reason, why factories use cheap stuff? The reason called “liquid capital”… I hope it is the right term. So, they need to keep a certain amount of money in materials – expensive materials, more money, more cost, which can be covered with a bank loan, but that also cost money. So if they produce 1000 pairs per day (which is not even a big factory), and they have supply delivery every week – every dollar they save per pair means 1000 USD less cost, bigger income. Then just count: a big factory, much cheaper materials (so I am not talking about 1 USD, but much more, which comes from the huge gap between the real leather and the cheap stuff… ). So even this factory can save thousands on interest per year – not talking about the better sales, because of the cheaper prices.

Koronya Shoes will contain the best available materials, and let me explain why: because I will make them onto orders and I won’t keep a big stock, cos I don’t need, due my small capacity.

Patterns

After so much hesitation I decided to use only a few, really classic models and some limited series. That’s it.

Market

I really cannot provide shoes for many stores – I decided to choose one: in New York, Manhattan. As a matter of fact I am still looking for a store – so if you know any, please do not hesitate to contact me…

At the first few month I believe that my shoes will be available as made to order, then if I can step ahead – ready stuff.

Here I am now. Not completed this job, but close to it.

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