From 1992 Saint Crispin’s developed very quickly and now you products are very much appreciated by Gentlemen all over the world. Please tell my readers briefly the story of founding the company by Michael Rollig , present management and the important periods in Saint Crispin’s history.
The beginnings of Saint Crispin’s go back to approximately 1985 when Michael Rollig began to produce hand made bespoke shoes alongside his activities as a shoe designer and production manager for various, international shoe manufacturers.In the year 1992 the name “Saint Crispin’s” was registered, the company founded, and the first bespoke shoes were sold in Germany and Italy to a few gentlemen.
How did you joined Saint Crispin’s and why did you chose shoemaking from all the other business. Is your your background responsible for this passion?
In 2003 I joined the company as partner and took over managerial functions. Coming from the worlds of consultancy and IT I was since ever fascinated by craftsmanship and men’s shoes. The combination of modern business ship tools together with high end craftsmanship to be able to make some of the finest shoes in the world seems to have worked out.
Soon after that the first prêt-à-porter shoe series were produced next to the bespoke shoes. Starting with one last, the first PRET collection and three customers in Germany we were slightly being noticed by customers all over the world. Now we work with partners not only in Germany but in Australia, Austria, China, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Russia, South Korea and in the United States.
The worldwide crisis in 2008 made intense restructuring necessary but in the end it was the chance to streamline our setup and renew our processes which make our products more unique combined with better delivery times for our customers.In 2009 Michael Rollig resigned from all functions at Saint Crispin’s and handed over the general management to me, his cousin. As a shareholder Michael remains much obliged to Saint Crispin’s which a families business remains.
You produce your shoes in Brasov, Romania. Why did you chose this area in the beginning. How large is the factory and how many man work every day to create the Saint Crispin’s shoe?
In our workshop in Brasov, Romania, there are 17 people employed and they all have been trained within the company. Our key employees are with us since nearly 20 years now. With an output of approximately 1200 pairs per year Saint Crispin’s is one the smallest shoe manufacture but highly appreciated amongst shoe and fashion aficionados all over the world for our craftsmanship and design.
Where do you get your inspiration for the models and what models you do best Italian, Hungarian or English ?
Our business model is based on the single pair order which allows us to respond to the full request of our customers. Due to the limitation of the production output we only work with very fine selected partners all over the world.
Saint Crispin’s does not follow the Viennese shoemaker tradition exclusively but propagates a style which is understood in Anglo-Saxon regions as well as the Mediterranean, German-speaking areas and is now appreciated all over the world since we can answer to any request regarding design, color material used or just simple accessories like hand stitched applications.
Where do you get the leather? What about the leather for soles? Do you use Cordovan?
Most of our leather for upper we do not buy at tanneries but from small leather traders in Austria, Germany and Italy. The reason is because first we do not make big orders since we buy only so much we are in need of and second because the quality demands we have are so high that we need a certain high quality and therefore the smaller leather trading company is better since we can send each skin back which has a lack or a mistake.
Due to this we can fulfill every customers wish because we can order any leather requested. We worked already with: Cordovan (Horween shells from Chicago), Ostrich, Crocodile, Shark, ray, and even elephant (but this was delivered by a customer). The most leathers we use is our self stained crust calf leather (plain).
In what part of the process you use machines?
We only use hand machines like sewing machines, clicking – the pulling the upper over the last and of course any sole construction is made by hand. Otherwise it would not be possible to have such a beveled waist for which our label is famous for.
For Western European gentleman is very easy to buy Saint Crispin’s shoes but what about Romanian Gentlemen. Where is the closest location where we can buy your shoes?
I just came back from New York and am happy to announce that Saint Crispin’s shoes will soon be available at Leffot. Since we have no retailer in Romania yet I would – if possible also personally – welcome everybody in our workshop in Brasov, if we know in advance by appointment. Our managing director, Mrs. Cristiana Barbu, who is also responsible for our pattern making will also be at any service available – on advance appointment.