Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Monday, 21 December 2015

Happy Holidays!

We are off for the holidays. Hurray! 

It's been an exciting and busy year and it's time to re-charge our batteries...ready for an even busier 2016! 

We're straight back into shoemaking on 4th January when the intensive course gets under look out for lots of shoemaking posts; there will be plenty of shoemaking tips as we get our 2016 bespoke shoe orders and fittings under way; new tools and uppers for sale in the Tool Shed; launching the Winkers Resort Shoes orders; and at least two new R2W boots in development! 

Until then happy shoemaking and we wish you and yours very happy holidays.

Deborah and James

Elves under the Christmas tree!

Friday, 11 December 2015

A New Look for 2016

The Kickstarter drama finishes on Sunday night at 10pm and we're delighted that figures are looking good, so we'll be going into production with the new resort shoes in the spring.

In the mean time, as well as working on a number of new bespoke commissions and fulfilling the tool orders from the recent special weekend offers, we've also taken the New Year, New You spirit to heart. 

We're delighted to reveal our new branding. The original Carreducker logo remains at our heart, but each of the four strands of the business will now have its own identity. We hope that you love them as much as we do? Look out for them as we roll them out in the New Year.

Carreducker Bespoke is a flourish - a signature that brings together the traditional and contemporary just as our work does

Carreducker London, for our new ready to wear (R2W) ventures - bolder, fresher and off-set

Carreducker Shoemaking School and Tool Shed are intrinsically linked by the 2:1 brogue pattern... in fresh colours... belying the tradition of the craft we teach and the tools and materials we sell!

Short but sweet this week as we gear down for Christmas. Until next week and our last blog before the Christmas break, happy shoemaking.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Lantern Tassel Loafers

Guess what guys? We reached our funding goal on Kickstarter with a week to go. Busily putting the rest of the project into action. Exciting times!

We just had a rather lovely pair of suede loafers back form the last maker who has made the bespoke trees.

This is a bespoke customer who has rather large, wide feet. So, while the last might not be the most pleasing aesthetically, the most important thing is that they fit him and are comfortable

They are made from reverse suede which is best kind. Most suede you get is a split, so it has pile on both sides. A reverse suede is the the skin side on the reverse and the pile is only on the flesh side. It is of a much higher quality and will look good for longer

They have no apron/lake which makes them very simple and stylish. They have a 3/16" sole and a bevelled waist with a natural finish which accentuates the woody grain of the leather.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the tassels. Or are they toggles? They don't conform to the usual tassel format and are made from lizard skin, cut into thin strips and glued around a wooden bead. They are made by our resident tassel and leather edge treatment expert, Wilma Tasseldoux, who, in 2016, will be running a series of weekend classes at Carreducker in tassel making

Express your interest now!

So, another busy week ends on a high. 2016 is going to be a big one for us!

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Carreducker Needs You!

Hello readers, we hope you have had a good week and that life is treating you well.

This is where it gets serious and we appeal to your warm, snuggly side

We have written this blog for over seven years now and have given away a lot of knowledge and expertise to you guys, our readers, and we are really happy to do it because we love our craft and want to encourage people to make shoes.

We have never asked anything in return.

Until now!

We need a few minutes of your time to do two things

As some of you are probably aware, we are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a ready to wear shoe line.

So firstly, what we would like you to do is to SHARE the link on your networks, social media and among your friends. Cast the net wide and help us achieve our goal

Even if you think it won't help, it will. Please SHARE, guys.

Secondly, if you are feeling the love, would you pledge £10 to the campaign?

We will love you even more than we do already

Carreducker needs you!!!

Thank you in advance

James and Deborah

Friday, 20 November 2015

Special offers and Kickstarter Half Way Mark

Like many businesses, we've got lots of events going on in the run up to Christmas...but we wanted to let you know about a couple of special shopping opportunities to look out for.

The first is a four-day discount bonanza in the Tool Shed...Not only is it Thanksgiving in the USA next Thursday (26th), but the following day has become a bit of an event in its own right. Known as Black Friday, it marks the 'official' start of the holiday season. Followed closely by Cyber Monday on the 30th of November

Making Pack 1 - with lasts
"Just think how good this will look under the Christmas tree!"
With the recent successful launch of our own e-commerce site, the Tool Shed, we wanted to do something as a 'thank you' to our customers. So we are delighted to offer all you lovely shoemakers out there a special 20% discount on orders placed next Friday through Monday. (Sorry Shoemaking School students, you already receive your 20% discount on your Tool Shed orders). 

French hammer
"All I want for Christmas is....a French hammer!"
So if you are thinking about gifting that extra special tool or making pack to that shoemaker you love (or to yourself!) for Christmas, now is the time!  

The second date to watch out for Saturday 5th of December - it's Small Business Saturday here in the UK, so it's a chance to shun the big corporates and for everyone to support the little guys like us.
As active members of the scheme, we will also be offering a 20% discount on all sales made through the Tool Shed on that day

We hope that you'll make the most of it and we look forward to receiving your orders. 


Additionally, next weekend sees our Christmas Open Studios shopping weekend. It's a great chance to come and buy directly from the designer-makers based here at Holborn and in our sister site in Deptford. The dates are:

Holborn from Thursday 26th Nov. – Sunday 29th Nov 
Deptford from Thursday 3rd Dec.– Sunday 6th Dec.

We will be ready with a warm welcome on Thursday evening from 6-9pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 6pm. 

This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see behind the scenes, to meet 170 talented makers over two sites and to buy beautifully crafted gifts directly from independent makers including textiles, homeware, jewellery, ceramics, soft furnishings...oh yes, and shoes!

There is also a special showcase selected and curated by style aficionado Dominic Lutyens (and which we are proud to say includes a pair of our bespoke shoes); a Prize Draw to win handmade Christmas tree decorations; and delicious food from the Hand Made Food Cafe! 

New Winkers Resort Shoes project video thumbnail

And finally a quick update on our Winkers Resort Shoe Kickstarter campaign

We launched last Friday and we're delighted to say that we are half way there, so many thanks to all of you who have pledged, liked and shared. Your support is really appreciated. 

If you haven't yet had an opportunity to do so, please do SHARE the link with your network... we've still got a long way to go to exceed our £18,000 total.

Until next week happy shoemaking, happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Kickstarter Go Live and New Bespoke Shoes

Exciting times...we're delighted to say that our Kickstarter campaign for Winkers Resort Shoes has been approved and IS LIVE!

The nine beautiful Designers Guild fabrics:
Top row from left to right: Broadstairs, Dunbar, Whitby
Middle row from left to right: Cromer, Margate, Brighton
Bottom row from left to right: Southwold, Pembroke, St. Ives

We'd really appreciate your help in reaching our £18,000 target, so please do tell your friends and family! 

Now, we know that we've been manufacturing obsessed for the last few months, but that's not all we've been up to. Below are photos of two recent beautiful bespoke commissions we have delivered.

The FW Extreme Brogue boot with ski hook fastenings

And our own ram's horn medallion design

And in contrast...
The handsome DV Oxford with single hole punch detail around the top edge

In beautiful caramel calf

Oh yes...did we mention the lime green kid lining?
That's all from us for this week the first winter storms are upon us it's time to dream of sunny times, sand and sea and to make a pledge for some resort shoes for spring! Until next week happy shoemaking!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Kickstarter count down for new Winkers Resort Shoes

One camera's never enough!
What a busy week it's been, much of it spent in front of the camera. As you can see, some of us enjoyed the attention more than others :) (see above) 

Just checking the script
We've been telling our story for a Kickstarter campaign to produce a new style of Winkers Resort Shoe. Inspired by the classic espadrille and made In England they will retail for £199. If the campaign goes well they will be available in the spring, but you can pre-order a pair as a reward via Kickstarter. Look out for news of the campaign here, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @bespokeshoe. 

We launch next Saturday and have 30 days to raise £18000. We would really appreciate your help in spreading the word as wide as possible. Every pledge helps to get us closer to our target and if we don't reach it, the shoes don't get made! 

There are some lovely rewards to be had. Be one of the first 30 to pledge £125 or more and you will receive a pair of shoes, £20 or more for a shoehorn and £10 or more for a launch party invitation! 

The samples finally arrived on Wednesday when it was our turn to get behind the camera. 

Here's a glimpse of the results...aren't they handsome? As you can see we've named them after some of our favourite British coastal resorts

St Ives
In the mean time a huge thanks to CC who is currently working all the hours to get our campaign film edited...and to our intrepid customers whose Winkers travelled the world this summer.


 Until next week happy shoemaking!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Stepping out - Carreducker ready to wear shoes

This week has been like any other at the workshop... busy delivering bespoke shoes to customers, taking new orders and making shoes...but we've also been preparing for an exciting new direction for the company as we venture into the world of ready to wear.
The count down begins today as we gear up for our first ever Kickstarter campaign due to launch in the next couple of weeks. (If you haven't heard of Kickstarter before, it is a great way of attracting people to support your endeavours by pre-ordering soon-to-be-launched products).

So we've been...

...sourcing beautiful rewards

...getting the fit right

...and adjusting the design

....then putting together mood boards for inspiration

....and scrap books for telling the story

of the new shoes that we are making.

We have chosen a collection of fabrics from Designers Guild to make the shoes in...we think that they are beautiful. They are upholstery fabrics, so will be harder wearing than most, and ideal for light weight summer shoes.

Naturally the shoes are leather lined so are breathable - again great for summer - and have leather soles and heels so they are light-weight but smart.

That's all we can share for now. There will be more news each week as we get samples, finish our campaign and the launch date for the Kickstarter approaches...and of our bespoke shoes too of course, so please keep a look out and follow us on Facebook and Instagram if you want to find out more.

Finally, tomorrow is a big birthday for one of us...and although part of the day will be spent filming - ...fortunately the rest of the weekend will be spent celebrating. That's just how it is when you are the poster boy for the brand!
Photography: Jack Lawson
Please join me in wishing the lovely Mr Ducker a very happy birthday and until next week, happy shoemaking everyone!