Shoemaker's Story #01｜About my work
Blue over sample craftsman. The shoes are made by hand, from the pattern to the sewing and shoemaking. We also handle factory arrangements and material setup.
This series is a compilation of several notes I wrote in order to explain my work, namely making shoes, as clearly as possible.
<About my work>
Even though I make shoes, I don't make shoes every day. My job is to place designs on wooden molds and create patterns. Preparing and arranging mass production and turning it into a product. ” That is. Both women's shoe brand [AROA] and sneaker brand [blueover] do not release many new products every year, but instead develop new models with the intention of making them standard. We spend a considerable amount of time creating new models and bespoke models. After creating a pattern based on your design, we manually cut, sew, insert, and attach the soles to create sample shoes that you can try on.
After repeated trials and corrections, once the final sample is completed, we discuss it with the factory, fine-tune the pattern, and arrange materials for mass production. Shoe manufacturing involves many processes and is based on a division of labor system. There are companies for each of the cutting dies, wooden patterns, auxiliary materials, insoles, soles (outsole), strings, and boxes necessary for cutting. And there are craftsmen in each process.
Cutting → Sewing → Fishing and bottoming
For example, there are factories that request several requests for just one process, such as fishing and bottoming. A factory that specializes in sneakers, a factory that specializes in dress shoes, a factory that specializes in motorcycle boots, and a factory that specializes in women's pumps. While checking our strengths, we decide which factory to request for mass production. Shoes are made by bringing together factories and material shops in shoe complexes across Japan.
By working in the shoe industry, I have met many factories and we are making shoes together. Both AROA and blueover were created thanks to that connection. The shoes I was involved with are tied together by many people, turned into shoes, and delivered to customers. There are many things going on, but it's still my favorite job.
<Sometimes your life will change if you try>
About 10 years ago, in my late 20s, I was making and selling shoes and making a living by having shoes and bags repaired.
I also set up shop at events and made original shoes for second-hand clothing stores. However, as an anonymous person, my shoes don't always sell, and I have to work part-time jobs late at night and early in the morning to make ends meet. Several years passed, and I was doing my best to maintain my feelings while living like that.
At that time, I found blueover on the internet. A name I've never heard of in the narrow industry of shoes, and a brand from Osaka. I am curious.
On the other hand, I wanted a job and was looking for connections with various people. When I was researching cross-industry networking events that were popular at the time, the name blueover caught my eye. The people from Blueover were also going to participate, so they dressed up in tattered sweats and shorts.
There, I connected with the members of blueover, got a job, and now I work as one of the members.
I am convinced that my life has changed dramatically since I took that first step. Both my private life and work life have changed by 180 degrees.
10 years have passed and I'm now in my late 30s, but just like back then, I know that if I try, my life will change. That's what I tell myself.
<Sewing machine, paper machine and memories of that day>
Blueover's flagship store ``struct'' near Utsubo Park in Osaka city has, of course, lined up with blueover shoes.
In the back of the shop, I have my workspace, which includes a workbench, sewing machine, and paper towel. In that workshop, we sew and attach the bottoms to make samples. The creation and modification of patterns and the cutting of leather are done elsewhere, so they are often not available. If you can meet us when you come to our store, please say hello.
sewing machine and skiving machine
From the front of the photo, there are paper towels, sewing machines, and work tables lined up.
The sewing machine is a shoemaking machine called a post sewing machine. A skiving machine is a machine that thins the leather. I will explain the detailed explanation of the machine in another article.
I wanted to be a shoemaker
When I was in college, I wanted to make shoes as a career, but I was studying genetics at the Faculty of Agriculture.
I couldn't tell my parents that I was going to a shoe school since I was going to university, and I didn't have any money, so I looked for a job to see if I could do shoe planning, but they only accept open applications for people with art backgrounds. , became a shoe salesman. While working as a salesperson, I spent my days off teaching shoemaking to craftsmen for a year and a half, but I quit my job as a salesperson because I wanted to be more involved in shoemaking. Probably 23 or 24 years old.
After I quit my job, I started spending more time teaching shoe making. At the same time, I was living far away from my hometown, so I was also working part-time.
While working part-time jobs late at night and early in the morning, he was taught shoe making during the day.
I worked at an Internet cafe, stocking supermarkets, sorting parcels for parcels, serving customers at food factories, and bars.
However, this kind of work-life balance led to lack of sleep, and I was unable to maintain it for long. I didn't have any money because most of my part-time job money was gone due to my boarding house and utility bills.
To fill the gap between who I wanted to be and who I wanted to be.
There was a huge gap between who I imagined myself to be when I was a university student and who I actually was, and there were times when it was difficult. Meanwhile, I found a sewing machine and a paper towel.
At that time, there were many people who wanted to become shoe makers, so sewing machines and paper machines were in short supply.
This was the story I received while I was on the lookout for something.
It seemed like there were other people who wanted it, but they were able to convey their passion and decided to give it to them. I believe the sewing machine cost 220,000 yen. I think the skiving machine was 70,000 yen.
Most of the sewing machines were around 120,000 yen, so they were in good condition and I was able to afford them, so I asked my sister to borrow some money and got a sewing machine and a skiving machine.
*The workbench was imposed on me by the craftsman when I bought the sewing machine. It also costs money to dispose of it.
I think you can get it cheaper now. I gave back a little bit to my sister every month. (Thanks to my sister) Having a sewing machine and a papermaking machine at home increased my motivation and increased the range of work I could take on as an individual. When I worked at a repair shop, having my own sewing machine made me much more efficient.
Yesterday, I received a pair of children's shoes as a gift from the master who taught me how to make shoes in the past, as a gift to celebrate my birth. I currently live in Tokushima Prefecture, but we get along well.
I've caused you a lot of trouble, but I'm really grateful that you're able to get along with me. At that time, I bought a sewing machine and a skiving machine, and by taking on personal work and making and selling my own shoes, I may have gained some recognition.
Part-time jobs that aren't related to shoe making are just for the money, but having a sewing machine and a papermaking machine means you can get work related to shoes and bags.
I received the shoes as a gift and it brought back many memories. There was a time when he invited me to his house and treated me to saury even though I had no money.
When you have something you want to do, when there is something you want to do, if you force yourself to do something, things may change.
<What I want to be when I grow up>
I have a child. When we ask children, ``What do you want to be when you grow up?'' they say, ``I want to be an elephant!'', ``Soccer player,'' ``Become a ninja!'', ``Sushi restaurant,'' ``Pet shop,'' and many other dreams. It's full of.
As a parent, I want my child to find something he can immerse himself in someday, and I want to support him, and his dreams for the future are sometimes a topic of conversation at our family table. Recently, I have been asked the opposite question, ``What does Cha-chan (my child) want to be when he grows up?''
I was at a loss for words.
The children were made to realize that it doesn't matter how old you are to become what you want to be, even though you're already big enough. When I was little, my dreams were girlish things like being a piano teacher, kindergarten teacher, or working at an ice cream shop.
When I was in college, I became fascinated with leather and decided to pursue a career in shoe making. I was at Blueover because of connections with various people, and when I think about it, my dream at that time had come true. From then on, I didn't even realize it was a dream.
To put it bluntly, my dreams when I was in college were centered around me. Those days when I was my own.
I'm thinking about something now. Nowadays, I don't feel comfortable making products to satisfy my own desires, so I continue to work with many factories in Japan to create blueover.
Inheriting traditional industries. This is also very important to us.
However, lately I've been thinking a lot about what I can do for the future. I want to take action for tomorrow, for three years from now, for five years from now, and for the future of our children. What can I do through myself and my work? We started moving.
Although I can't do anything big, I look forward with the desire to do better.