Favorite leather to work with?
The old Freudenberg anilines were wonderful, but they’re very hard to come by since they closed down. There’s some nice French aniline still coming through, I always like the way that wears over the years.
Please tell me three hidden secrets of bespoke shoemaking.
I don’t keep secrets generally, there’s far too many secrets that have been buried in the cemetery already and that’s not good for the industry. I’m always happy to share the little bit of knowledge I’ve assembled with anyone who cares enough to listen.
Are you sentimental regarding your shoes?
There are a few pairs I am sentimental about, shoemaking is pretty dusty and dirty work though so you tend to wear the same kick about pairs very regularly and you can’t be too precious about those ones.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Getting things exactly as the customer expected.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
What shoe would like to make in the future that you have not made yet?
Oh, lots. I’ve got a list of things I’d like to try and make, when I have a moment of inspiration I add things to it. It’s getting bigger all the time because I can write more quickly than I can make shoes, sadly.
What was the most challenging project so far?
How would you describe a typical day of a young shoemaker?
For me, I get up early and get the children dressed and ready for their day. Then I go cycling for around 50 kilometers or so, clear my mind a bit and plan the day ahead. I check my emails when I’m back in the workshop, deal with anything that’s needed there and pick up from where I left things the day before. That could be anything from making a pair of lasts, closing an upper or stitching a sole.
What are your favorite places to spend your evenings?
At home with my wife and daughters.
What is your favorite word?
Don’t have one.
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?
Anything I guess, you can find inspiration from everything. I get to enjoy a lot of valuable thinking time while I’m on my bike, the more effort I put into a training session the better my ideas, I think.
What turns you off?
I don’t think anything does, in particular.
What is your favorite curse word?
I say “bugger” a lot.
What sound or a noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Keeping on the smells theme, I’m choosing any single one of Guerlain’s Shalimar flanker fragrances, because they represent everything that I think is wrong with modern business practices.
What profession would you not like to do?
Anything with paperwork.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?