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About success, failure and a fair attempt to do the right thing which I failed at

About success, failure and a fair attempt to do the right thing which I failed at

We are different and our feet are different. This is the reason why mass-produced items do not fit us and thousands of new pairs of shoes end up in a dump. So when standardised products disappoint, it is time to find those, who listen to individual needs of a customer -  craftsman.

Currently I get more and more requests from people with non standard feet or legs to make personalized footwear.  These people can’t put on mass-produced items for different health issues. Their one leg might be shorter than another or one feet  wider than another. When that’s the reason, it’s relatively easy for me to help: I use different size shoe lasts or make higher insoles. However, it is much more difficult to guarantee comfort for deformed feet, suffering from age or diseases. To help them, I need more than professionalism, accuracy or experience. I do really need careful attention for details and mathematical precision.  In order to make a non standard footwear, we  create special shoe lasts for every offer. This is quite difficult since our clients usually live abroad and we cannot measure their feet in reality.

For example, just recently I got a letter from a granddaughter of a wonderful elderly woman. She asked me to make a new comfortable pair of slippers for her grandma’s deformed feet and sent some photos. I got the feeling as these feet looked quite similar to my grandma’s feet: frail because of all the steps she had to take in order to build her future, raise children, grandchildren and cherish her home. According to the photos, we drew schemes, made shoe lasts and felted slippers. We could not check if they are fine because our client lived far away. Thus, because of the human factor, we made a mistake and when we sent our slippers, it appeared that they were too large! We apologised, returned the money back and felt terribly disappointed… It was a pity that we could not meet our client’s needs. Also, this experience let us understand how important it is to develop affordable technologies, which would let us avoid this kind of human mistakes. Now I am waiting for a technological revolution so that I could buy 3D scanner which would scan the foot, and a 3D printer to print its’ perfect shoelast. You say that it is already possible? Craftsman would agree: if we want our production to be accessible to wide groups of society, we can’t afford that… 

So we wait.I know that when ‘handmade’ will finally meets ‘hi-tech’, the result will be high quality personalized items, perfectly meeting our individual needs. Just imagine what this will mean to us and our planet! No mass produced items, no discomfort, no trash, no thousands of wasted ‘product miles’....

And shoes? Your shoes will be exactly what you wanted them to be.

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