I am in shoemaking trade for over 30 years. I doesn’t feel enough for a lot of things. First of all: to build a really successful brand. I was born in Hungary and that is definitely not the right place for that. There is not enough money or appreciation for this trade there. (I mean not over 500 USD for shoes. That just fall into the “why do you want to charge so much?” category in my country). I did not come from a rich family or have investors in my workshop. I appreciated my freedom more than that. Me and superiors – we don’t work very well together. I don’t appreciate (or as a matter of fact: understand) bureaucracy, superiors usually can’t deal with people with too much creativity – or at least not too many do.
I was not spoiled with tuition after a certain point, which honestly I badly miss. You just can’t imagine what it means to start your craft in a prestigious workshop – not only for the knowledge surrounds you, but setting your quality standards pretty high. Time to time, I have to realize, that certain thing I do is just not good enough and some makers do it way better. That is inspiring. That gives me fuel to improve my work, which I continuously do. Luckily I know a bit about materials and leathers, so I don’t need to start the experiments there.
Very recently I read an article about a young Hungarian man, traveling with his chariot and oxen through Europe. He passed away as a someone hit him with a car. His story was inspiring: I watched a video about it. He said something really smart, which resonates with me. He said he doesn’t focus on his destination when he travels somewhere. That would make him unsatisfied. He was focusing on the traveling itself. He was a content man, his aura was full with peace. He really seemed happy. I think that is a great example for us, craftsmen wherever we are with our craft – focusing on our journey instead of a destination where we might never arrive – that can make us happy with ourselves.
We should not be afraid to make mistakes, just learn from them. Don’t believe that your craft icons are perfect – they have their own struggles, just like you. Their stitches, style might be better than yours, but hey – they are just more ahead in the journey. You need to travel yours. That is what I do.