Today will be more of a rant and a rave than an actual shoe post per se. It will be more about my feelings than about shoes. So be warned…..
Every year, for me, marks a reflection point not only because my birthday lies within the first week of the year (the big 3-0 this one!) but also because I now have a family and a business that needs growing. That growing usually involves planning and tending to. Not something that you can just let fly by and see what happens. Therefore, the month of January usually serves as a period in which I need to reflect (as well as mark my goals) on how I plan to carry out the rest of the year in the attempt to progress towards the things that I have always wanted not only as that family man but also as a business man.
2013 was a great year. It was the year that I became a father. An accomplishment that for me means that real life has now begun. Adolescence is over and adulthood is in full effect. It’s a scary yet invigorating feeling. One can no longer think about themselves but now need to put a greater purpose forward, a purpose far greater than their own well being. It’s a hard thing to swallow but also the most beautiful reward at the same time as it gives one the opportunity to truly grow something that is wholeheartedly dependant upon you as a person and a nurturer. This very idea is something that brings excitement to my everyday emotions but also brings fear at the same time. Either way, it drives me to be the best that I can be and that is what I love.
I also launched my own shoe line in 2013, a project that was 7 years in the making. That accomplishment was by far the greatest that I had ever achieved in a self-fulfilling nature (i.e. a goal laid forth for career/personal gain, not family oriented). And while this achievement has not come without it’s own strife and difficulty, it has also been so rewarding and fun at the same time. It has brought me closer to my goals of seeing men wearing better shoes and men caring more about the footwear that they choose to represent. And while I have only once recognized someone (that I did not know) wearing my shoes in passing (therefore outside of my friends and personal customers), it created a second of my life that I will never forget and will forever cherish as it was amongst one of the best feelings in the world.
While many of you may think that I say this because you are sitting here reading it, I can wholeheartedly say that without the support of the blog readers, none of this (shoe company-wise) would have been possible. Of the 700 or so pairs that I have sold since March 19th, 2013, I can confidently say that 75-80% of them have been to blog readers. And I am truly grateful and indebted to you for that. That number states (without bias) that without your support, my brand would have already failed. That is precisely why I hope and plan to do more for you this year as it is time for me to give back. In 2013, I had so much going on that I felt that I was not able to dedicate as much to the blog as I had wanted to and that disappointed me. But in 2014 I will change that, and partly so because I am finally leaving my day job of shoe shining and will be focusing solely on my business and the blog.
That being, expect more in-depth content and more give-aways this year. I will at least give away 1 pair of J.FitzPatrick shoes, if not more and try to get you products from others as well (if I can). So, as always, I appreciate all of your support, from each and every one of you and thank you to all those that have spread the word about my blog/shoe line/accessory range. It means so much to me and that is not just empty words at the sake of sounding good. I truly mean it.
I wish all you a wonderful 2014 and hope to meet even more of you this year that still have yet to meet.
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”
I think you gave us a wonderful blog in 2013, and I have thoroughly enjoyed your adventures in building your own business, and your own family.
You also have given us a beautiful range of shoes, and although I cannot currently afford new shoes (nor do I in all honesty really need them), I have been enjoying watching the pictures here and elsewhere: they were a joy to behold. Not only the shoes themselves, but reading about your journey towards your own business, and to designing and producing your own shoes was a pleasure.
I wish you and your family all the best for 2014, and I hope we will get to enjoy even more of your travels through the world of shoes.
Dear Paul, thanks for sharing and for you kind words. I really do appreciate your long time support. You are one of the originals who has never strayed. I thank you for that. Thanks for the well wishes and I extend the same to you and yours! -Justin
Your blog has been amazing and inspiring and continue doing the good work and have amazing success with your shoe line!!
I appreciate that my friend. Thanks for sharing!
Congrats on your progress and the very best wishes for the year ahead!
Thank you mel!
Thank you Justin. I only started reading the blog about a month ago, and have really enjoyed it. I am always inspired by people following their dreams! Looking forward to what you have to bring to us in 2014!
Glad that you found it Rob and thanks for leaving your comment. I appreciate the support no matter for how long!
You are very welcome. Do you have any plans to do a shell cordovan shoe in your line? Also, just a general shell question – if shell cordovan is waterproof and good for bad weather, then why do we not see more shell shoes made with a storm welt? Is there any major benefit to a storm welt?I just got my 1st pair of shell shoes (C&J) and I love them, but I am afraid to get them wet, especially since they have leather soles. I am now considering some Carmina shell shoes. (see photo). I would love to know your thoughts on shell. Thanks!
Yes, I would like to make shoes in cordovan, but the problem is actually getting good cordovan. It’s like the mafia where Horween is the supplier and only few people can get it from there….other cordovan distributors are either no good or are closing up….and those suppliers of Horween have their own mark up on it so if a designer like myself gets it, then it creates a really really expensive shoe…so, I am still trying to figure out how I will be able to get around this little problem……cordovan is not actually waterproof, nothing outside of Goretex really is….it is highly water resistant and more durable than calf however. As per a storm welt, well it’s purpose is to protect the weak point of the where the welt and the upper meet, thus keeping water out form that weak point. I don’t know why more makers don’t use them when making cordovan shoes…maybe it is because the shoe will be so incredibly stiff if they do…cordovan is stiff enough…storm welts would make it even stiffer..
Your passion is commendable, for without the dreams of dreamers, our world would appear grey and bland. Passion is contagious and will serve you well building both your personal and business brands. Success and God’s speed to you and your family in 2014.
Thank you very much for your kind words Kirk, I really do appreciate them and wish you all the best for your venture as well in 2014!
Justin, keep up the fine work. I applaud you in many ways, but mostly for your passion for shoes and perseverance to make your dream happen. Good health and much success for 2014 !!!
Thank you LT, I do very much appreciate that as well as your support. All the best to you in 2014 as well!
I have watched and learned from you for about a year as a newby to the sartorial world. You have helped so many like me to navigate the difficult world of understanding quality benchmade shoes. I am so pleased that your shoe line is succeeeding, and look forward to the coming year with the Shoe Snob! All the best to your family, and my wife thanks you for de-slobbing me!
Thanks for sharing my friend and am happy to have helped and inspire where and when I can. I appreciate your support and tell your wife it was my pleasure! All the best to the both of you in 2014!
What a thoroughly enjoyable post! Your reflections on fatherhood echo my own. I’ve enjoyed the blog immensely and wish you every success for 2014.
Thanks for your constant support Roger. It was a pleasure to meet you in 2013 and I am sure that there will be many more to come! I wish you the best as well my friend!
Great read Justin! I am very proud to have partaken in the 700 pairs and I wish you thousands more for the years to come! All the best to the whole family for a fantastic 2014!
I truly appreciate your constant support Andre and it really pleases me to know how much you enjoy my shoes. That means a lot to me! Catch you soon my friend and the best to you in 2014!
Glad to hear it! Thanks for sharing!
Wish you the very best…
Thank you my friend!
Dear my Inspirational man,
I’ve read your blog in months ago through looking for information of my Business Plan in MBA program of Leipzig in University (Develop the leather shoes industry in Vietnam retail market).
You spread your passion & inspiration to young generation, very appreciate your useful information and wish you all the best, lucky, and success in New year.
P/S: (At Vietnam we also nearly has New Year eve, in next 2 weeks, –Hope to see you someday, In England or In Vietnam).
From Vietnamese guy who was inspired of your enthusiasm. ( 00:05 am, GMT +07).
Thank you very much for all of your kind words Andrew, I really do appreciate them and am happy to hear that I inspire you to do great things yourself. Thanks for your support in the blog and I too hope to meet you one day in Vietnam!
Thank you for always being an inspiration. As an inspiring shoemaker, I’ve learned a lot in the last few years from your blog.
I hope and wish the best for you and your family. You’re truly deserving of all your success.
Thank you for the kind Jarh, I do appreciate them truly. Best of luck with the shoemaking!!