Bespoke Shoes Mon, Jul 10, 2017
***NOTE: Your surveys for the Great Place To Work certification will be going out to your emails today (if it hasn't already). This is the certification that will allow us to apply for Fortune's list of Best Small & Medium Workplaces, so this one is very important for us all to finish in a timely manner. Please take 15 minutes this week to knock this one out so we're not coming down to the wire at the last minute. Ops Team - Josh will be putting some time on your schedules this morning to get this taken care of today. Thanks, everyone!***
I touched on it briefly in our all hands meeting yesterday, but there's so much more to say about Benjamin's Shoes that I didn't have time to talk about during our meeting.
Benjamin's Shoes is a local company, headquartered on R Street in the Warehouse Artist Lofts and their shop is awesome. It's a throwback to another time where handmade shoes and clothes were the norm, as opposed to the mass produced, "fast fashion" that's so prevalent today. When Nery and I went to meet with him in March, Benjamin told us that he taught himself how to make shoes on his own because he wanted to make a longer-lasting product with a story behind it. As a company, the goal of Benjamin's Shoes is to disrupt the "fast fashion" fad where shoes and items of clothing are a dime a dozen, made somewhere far away.
Storytelling can come from anywhere, and Benjamin is focused on telling a story through each pair of shoes his team makes. As you can imagine, the process is tedious and arduous and combines a tremendous number of skills. In order to make a single pair of shoes, Benjamin and his team have to map out the shoe's pattern, mark and cut the shoe's uppers, stitch the pieces together, cut the insoles perfectly, attach the outsole, and tack and glue the shoe's upper to the shoe last (a wooden 3D mold that acts as a replica foot, taking into consideration the dimensions of things like heel, instep, and toe box).
Aside from the unique storytelling angle of Benjamin's Shoes, another primary goal of the company is to shed light on the poor working conditions of many of the world's shoemaking factories. When the same countries with the largest populations of people living without shoes are also home to the largest shoe manufacturing facilities, it's not hard to recognize that there's a big problem with an industry that needs some significant and profound changes.
For all these reasons, and many more, I'm very excited to work with Benjamin and his team. There are so many possibilities for this collaboration and as we continue to meet and discuss and work with him and his team over the next few months, I'll keep you guys posted on what this collaboration will look like. It's hard to lose when you bring together 2 awesome local companies standing out in their respective fields, combining to create something unique and limited. That's a recipe for magic - stay tuned!