Originally Posted by jimmyshoe
After leaving university with a degree in psychology and little inclination to knuckle down, I decided on an adventure and went to live in Barcelona with the intention of learning Spanish and moving on to Argentina. I was an English teacher and discovered the Guild Of Shoemakers shoemaking school, so I did a pattern making course and a making course. From there, I found a father and son shoemaking team called Ponsa (now defunct) who let me make shoes with them in my spare time. They helped and encouraged me enormously. I made about 15 pairs of shoes with them.
Having decided I did not want to be a teacher for ever, I returned to London. I had a plan A, which was to apply to John Lobb to do an apprenticeship.
Luckily for me, they said yes and I started straight away. They sent me to one of their master shoemakers called Paul Wilson (who now works for John Lobb in New York). I spent nearly four years with him and then became a self employed shoemaker.
While I was an apprentice, I met my business partner Deborah Carré who was also training with Paul. She had a grant from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust to pay for her apprenticeship. She was also a career changer having worked in PR for years.
We both went our separate ways for a while but kept in touch. While making for John Lobb, I started teaching handsewn shoemaking at Cordwainers College in Hackney, London and at the London College of Fashion.
We decided to start our own company in 2004 and so carréducker was born. We have been working ever since, growing the business, struggling forward and staying alive. We have a workshop in Bloomsbury, London and in 2010 we opened a concession in Gieves and Hawkes on Savile Row which was a great move for us.
In 2006 we started our own shoemaking school and we do intensive courses 3 times a year in London and New York. These are very successful and were the catalyst for starting our blog which is basically our way of sharing our knowledge and promoting the trade (which we are very passionate about). This year we are starting a weekly 3 hour class for those who cannot find the time for an intensive course.
And that is about it.
If you want to be a shoemaker, you can do it. You need patience and tenacity and a sprinkle of good fortune.