In the hopes of always trying new things and getting better products to make my shoes with, I went to Milan for the bi-annual Lineapelle leather fair and am currently still here. As luck would have it, I came down with a cold the day before leaving and still havent shaken it off. Travelling while ill definitely takes the fun out of it, but at least it’s just a cold and not a fever!
Like Pitti, what I love about coming to Milan is that I have several friends here that are in the industry of whom I always enjoy getting the chance to see. On top of that, you usually bump into others you didnt expect to see as I did with my good friend Phillip Car of Saint Crispins. What’s great about it, is that not only do you get to see friends but that you also get to discuss the industry and exchange ideas. For me, the thought of other brands being competitors doesn’t exist. I dont try to fight for the sale of an exisiting customer but rather try and create a new customer that has never worn goodyear welted shoes. That is my ultimate goal: to transform the minds of men into bettering their shoe collection, one pair at a time (if not more!)
Therefore it might seem strange that every chance I get, I meet up with the Barbanera brothers, who are like my Italian brothers from another mother, and talk about the industry and how to succeed in it. In reality their product could be considered somewhat similar to mine (although we all agree that they are quite different). The fact is that they make smart, goodyear welted shoes that have a classic base and modern details injected into them, quite like mine do. And their price point is similar too. Other shoemakers might not dream of being so close to their so-called “competitor” but in reality nothing would please me more than to see them succeed.
Tonight, I am quite excited for as I am going to an amazing restaraunt with my good friends, Riccardo Bestetti and Gianni Cerrutti (of Passaggio Cravatte) and it just so happened that Mr. Hugo Jacomet of Parisian Gentleman was going to be in town too and will be accompanying us with his lovely wife Sonya Nicholson and photographer Lyle Roblin. And its not that I am trying to drop names here but rather show that the great thing about our industry is that we can all get together, be friends and exchange ideas. And for me, that is one of the greatest pleasures of doing what I do: the idea of getting people in the same space to make friends, share ideas and hopefully come together to better the industry. I have always said it and I will continue to do so and that is the fact that I truly believe if we all dropped the idea of having/being competitors, became friends and shared ideas, the shoe industry would be far better off and we would all sell more shoes, make more money and reach more clients. Cheers to that!