Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Michaels and the Shoe Factory

Yesterday Mike and I met with a representative from the shoe supplier we're going to use for Shoes of Prey, and together we took a 3.5 hour train ride out to Ghuangzhou to visit the supplier's shoe factory.

The shoe factory was an amazing place! It's a small factory by Chinese standards (around 40 people work there) and we were both surprised by how much of the work is done by hand and their focus on quality. Jodie, my mum and sisters own quite a few pairs of shoes made in this factory and aside from looking fantastic they have all served them admirably and that's not surprising after seeing the attention to detail that goes into making the shoes (it takes 6 years to train to be a shoe maker, and even then that won't get you across everything) and how many parts of the process are triple checked and repeated if they aren't done right.

We also ate yum cha and dinner with the shoe suppliers trying everything from dumplings and pork buns to some very tasty chicken feet!

Here are some pics of the shoe making in action:

Creating the leather straps for a pair of strappy sandals.

Cutting the leather. These must have been opera house style shoes! ;)

Shoe soles waiting to be turned into beautiful shoes. You can also see the shoe lasts in the bottom right of the photo. These are like model feet which are used to get the size of the shoe just right.

Adding some white stitching to these black leather shoes.

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