Sometimes in life you feel like you know someone even if you have never met them. This is the case with some of our suppliers.
You speak to them, sometimes weekly, and build up a rapport with them, have a bit of banter, find out little snippets about their lives, but you can't put a face to the voice
Well this week that changed with these guys who are a true closing family - Bev, Andy, Steven (mum, dad and son) and long time right hand man, Kevin.
These guys make our uppers for the Carreducker Shoe Making School and have done for many years.
Andy started as an apprentice pattern maker at age 15 and took over the business in 1996. Bev does the admin and son Steven is also a clicker and pattern maker and looks set to take over the reigns when the time comes.
They make uppers primarily for the orthopedic trade but can turn their hands to anything - they make consistently fantastic uppers as many of our students would agree.
They have also done a few weird and wonderful one offs like these shoes we made for an ad campaign in the interiors magazines for a carpet company, all made from fabrics from the shop.
I finally went to Bristol to meet them this week and what a pleasure it was to put a face to the voice.
We started with a tour of the factory
The closing room where the magic happens
|Two lovely old Singer machines a the back|
|Look at that lovely solid wood handle|
|In order - ladies' gimping; men's gimping; large single punch; small single punch; and the 2 and 1 brogue punch -lovely!|
These are their toe medallion punches, large and small
And the mallet they use to use them, although for us, they do our designs by hand.
I went because with the expansion of the Carreducker Shoe Making School this year, we wanted to see all their stock leather colours and get samples of all the things they can do so that we can offer you more choice in the uppers you use on the courses
It was a massive pleasure to have lunch with them and find out more about their lives - shoe people are, in general, and definitely in this case, absolutely lovely!
Thank you to the Sterling Upper Company for such a great welcome and visit.
And with that bombshell, ladies and gentlemen, until next week, happy shoe making!