Getting closer…

Another quick burst of typing before I go to bed (new Harpers arrived in the mail today, time to reeeeead and scalpel out the good bits).|
*update: there were no good bits. boring this month. everyone’s saving for the September issue.

Today we met with our new accountant, and seriously, a dozen high fives will be given to Anika and Leigh for hooking us up with their ‘arts focussed’ accounting firm. My god, one hour of talking to Gianna and we were finally for the first time EVER actually confident about the possibility of making profit AND somewhat interested in using MYOB for something more than another desktop icon. Hurrah. Tax deductions here we come!

We also visited Urban Salvage and put a hold on a sh*tload of old floorboards, which will be used to line almost the entirety of one wall of the studio in reclaimed timber shelves for me to display my collection of lasts and half-made shoes on. Woo!

We also drew up and priced the plans for 3 (count ’em) hardwood, fully equipped jewellers desks that I’m going to build asap.

On that note we have now decided that the workshop space will be offered to pretty much only jewellers (or small, bench work oriented craftspeople, watchmakers? etc) as we are going to divide the non-shoemaking side of the room in to 3 equal sized zones with one central polishing / stamping etc. area.
It just seems like there’d be too many variables and not enough room to offer the spaces to someone like me, who will need to spread out and stack leather or wood or fabric everwhere. Jewellers are easier to deal with. I hope.

The spaces will be offered as available from August 1. Not sure of the price exactly, but as I mentioned earlier, $150 a week-ish will get you a complete workspace, desk, other desk, shared machinery, kitchen and the option to stock your work in the shop and be sold online / hyped up by us. Being only a small crew we’ll be also choosing people who we get along well with, no room to hide in here! Will post more details soon.

So, work tomorrow, then full steam ahead with carpentry as of Friday. Then we get the keys. Then we panic. Then we move in.


Ps. Some other VERRRRY exciting news regarding a collaboration between myself and an awesome jeweller (not Dani) came to light this week. No need to jinx it now, but when it happens, you’ll know about it – it will be the start of a string of Steve vs. Someone Else Awesome shoes.

More info

Shoe equipment deal is done, money to change hands next week! So damn awesome.

Studio Lease is locked in, signing the paperwork next week.
I have already recreated the whole new space in CAD and planned the entire layout. Neeeerd.

So it’s official, we will soon be returning to our old ‘hood, and setting up shop in the Nicholas Building, corner of Swanson St and Flinders Lane, above Alice Euphemia.

Stage 1 is to move in, set up the workshop, get some tenants. (July)
Stage 2 is branding, making some stock, getting suppliers and launching a super new online store. (Aug-Sept)
Stage 3 will be the whole physical retail fitour, and of course making a bajillion things to stock in there. (Sept-Nov)

All this and more to be done by Christmas, no more lazy weekends for us… save your pennies kids, and shop local!

Photos to come when we get the keys.

Mini updates for a few weeks

So much going, not enough time to prep big juicy blog posts!

us this morning, not sure who that guy on the left is, didn’t notice him being there when we took the photo.

Update for today :

1. Spoke to my shoemaker connection, agreed on a price to buy a lifetime of shoemaking equipment, lasts and knowledge (well, as much as I absorb in 6 months)

2. Heading in to the city now to meet the real estate agent, shake hands and measure up our new workshop.

3. Spoke to the bank, wheels in motion to secure a fat loan for a fitout and branding etc.

4. Had coffee with Dani, discussed speedily all the possible collaborations, hookups and fun ideas we can implement when we have a shop

5. Will begin some leather accessories today (iphone cases etc) to stock in the shop for people with a little less cash to spend.

Next up, web redesign, insurance, heaters, artworks, signage, find people to share the space.

We will be looking for 2 other craftspeople who are established and/or serious about their craft to work with us.
$150ish a week rent, we’ll provide desks and machinery. Comes with the oppurtunity to stock in the store if your product suits the vibe.
If you know of any shoemakers, milliners, jewellers, bag / scarf / sock / lingerie makers who might be suitable, or this sounds like you,  please email us at

Rare times

… I’m excited! (If you were to ask my wife or family, they’d tell you that’s a rare thing for old “nothing fazes me” Steve.)

Today has brought LOTS of promising developments, none of which are locked in as yet, but if it all goes as planned we could be in a FULLY EQUIPPED workshop, in the heart of the city, with enough shoe lasts to last me a lifetime in a matter of weeks. Shit yeah.

I wont jinx myself by blabbing on about the details, but when it’s locked down, you’ll be the first to know (or the second, depending on how often you read this blog).

Bring it on!

Nerida’s Spicy Wedges

Double posting madness – Part 2… 2 in one day!

Nope, this isn’t another recipe post for some sort of Potato dish… this one’s all about the shoes baby!

As mentioned earlier, I took on a commissioned job to make some ‘fashion forward’ shoes for a lovely gal by the name of Nerida King who is currently studying textile design at RMIT. Her semester’s project entailed her hand-weaving these awesome Guatemalan inspired fabrics and then justifying their usefulness in the modern world by applying them to a sale-able product (other than another satchel or tea towel).

Her idea was to make some shoes, and luckily for both of us she had a friend recommend this here “oh, I can make anything from anything” shoemaker with a penchant for woven fabrics and unusual shoes. A perfect match it  seems!
The second idea was to use a digitally scanned and printed example of her fabric to increase its commercial viability… no one is going to hand weave enough fabric to make a whole range of shoes in this day and age it seems, so why not embrace the new technologies on offer and merge the old and the new?

So, we met in a cafe, I (probably) overwhelmed her with enthusiasm, and we traded some emails, sketches and fabric scans until we came up with this design as chosen for prototype #1.

I acually made 2 rough and quick prototypes first, of 2 differing designs, but this one had the most appeal.

To make the deadline of a Sunday morning photoshoot I got to work on making these over a 2 day period and had them ready and waiting to dry out by Saturday lunchtime. Still a little slower than i’d like to be, but quick enough to make this whole handmade shoes idea profitable for me in the long run.

Here’s the pics (there’s a lot, so they’re small, click em for maximum big-ness) :

patterns and pieces…

insole shaping and wrapping

digital printed cotton (turned out not as black as she planned, but it was fine for this task)

fabric and cotton pieces ‘laminted’ to a leather backing, and wrapped / piped edges applied.

construction! what a mind bender this was… zips, compound curves, 6 layers of material! ouch.

…coming together now.

I decided to add a yellow collar to the design for some ‘pop’. Artistic license was taken.

assembled and lining added.

makin’ wedges.. Cut ’em out, stack ’em up, sand them down.

… and there you go. curvaceous wedges, a dusty half hour later.

wrap those babies up in suede. Very profesh looking. Then I lasted the uppers.

Lasted, taking shape, 11pm. Happy Steve.

adding the wedges… the design we chose has a fancy upper-wrapped-wedge feature.

…cut a channel for the leather to nest into. wrap and glue it.

Add in some ‘socks’ with my pre-logo logo on them (new official logo is almost done btw!)

All done! Looking fuckin’ ace.

detail shots… check the (intentionally) unmatched upper patterns. Beautiful huh?

Contrast CENTRAL. Smooth/Rough, New/Old, Plain/Patterned. We’ve got it all covered. 

The outsoles are a bit of a let down i must admit… but there were going straight to an outdoor photoshoot, so I decided against spending another hour sanding and lacquering them only to have it destroyed a day later.

All in all a TOTAL success. So, keep your ear out for Nerida’s name in the near future…
I think this will be the start of a few more collaborations over the coming years, not that i’ve discussed that with her! Nerida? Is that ok?


Double posting madness, Part 1…

As you may remember me mentioning a few weeks ago (he says, confidently assuming people read AND remember everything he types on here) we went to my relative’s farm in rural NSW for the weekend. This provided us with many ‘firsts’, most notably being Dani’s first chance to pick up and hold a week old lamb in a paddock, after jumping from the back of a ute to open a gate. So very chic.

The second ‘first’ of the weekend was the chance for us to get our hands on a few kilos of freshly picked Kalamata olives, straight from the tree, for free! There are a wide variety of trees on my uncle’s land, and it just so happens that he planted a few olive trees back in the day for shade… and now they’re bearing fruit in large amounts.

So, Dani being the true italo-australian she is, grabbed a bag and spent half an hour stripping the tree bear of every juicy olive on there.

I’m aware that some of these are green/black/not kalamata…
there was a second tree that we grabbed some from for a sample of what they’ll taste like

We brought them home and decided to f0llow the pickling recipe that we picked up from the “Rose Creek Estate” – a small traditional Italian farm, that is suprisingly nestled in the heart of Keilor. Bizarre, I know, but they had some of the best olives i’ve ever tasted and were handing out the recipe to anyone who asked.

So,  following the recipe, we soaked the olives in fresh water, changing it each day, for 10 days.
This process seemed to leach most of the bitterness from the fruits (and boy were they bitter at the start), I’m guessing by replacing the water content that was provided by the tree, with fresh, less bitter water?

After that, we made a brine of 100g of salt to 1 litre of water, which is salty, i tasted it, it was salty.

Then its just a matter of popping all the olives in sterilised (boiling water rinsed) jars, with garlic, lemon slices, some oregano and chilli, and filling em up with brine.

Of course I underestimated how many jars we’d need, so now we have some odd sizes here and there, but you get the idea.

These now sit in a dark area for 6 – 8 weeks to get fully salt-ified, and then its just a matter of eating them all.

We are planning the annual salami making day this year to be in July, so by the time the olives are cured, the salami will be good to go, and August is looking like it will be antipasti central around here!

** We will be sending out invites to people who have expressed a genuine interest in learning the salami tricks over the last year for a special Sunday session where you make your own and pick them up later on, so if you are reading this and are all “damn, i wish i could make salami” then email us and we’ll invite you along! **

Sorry folks

… for the non updating. So much has been going on that neither of us have been spending time at our computers (which I guess is a good thing!)..  I do have photos here of a few recent projects, some 3D renderings to show off and the beginnings of a new video showcasing Dani’s bowl making process, but none of it is ready to upload today. Tomorrow maybe? Let’s pencil it in.

Just so that this post isn’t TOO boring, here’s a teaser photo of the shoes I made for Nerida. I’ll do a whole post on them asap.

On a more positive note, I’m off in a few hours to meet up with my graphic designererer for the first progress report on my logo and branding. Exciting!

After getting a tax return and paying off some debts it’s also time for me to purchase my full size run(s) of lasts, so look out for a post on that in the coming weeks. That will be some serious cash outlay, so it gets VERY serious from that day onwards.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely Sunday wherever you are!

Listening to – some Zeppelin, Sabbath and Lenny Kravitz in preparation for a bit of band practice later today.