It’s nice when you are able to turn your hobbies/pleasures into your career. There is a true sense of fulfillment when you do this as you are finally able to do something you love and get paid for it. Few things in life feel more rewarding than doing that. This is the story of The Sabot, two shoe lovers who wanted to do something more than their jobs and did so by setting up their own online shoe shop based out of Gothenburg, Sweden.
As a way to tell the story of their upbringing in the shoe industry, I thought a good interview would allow you to hear it best, straight from the mouths of Erik G and Ollie.
Q1. Firstly, how do we pronounce the name? Is it a hard ‘T’ or soft one like in Leffot? There is nothing worse than you name being constantly butchered
Sabot is pronounced with a soft T.�Sabot is originally French and means wooden shoes. Many ask us: Why did you�choose a French word. Well,�the Swedish royal family stems from�France and therefore�the Swedish language contains�a lot of French�words.�Historically, the sabot was very popular in Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries, back in the days.
Q2. Who is ‘The Sabot’? Tell us about the founders. What are their backgrounds?
The Sabot is founded by two longtime friends from Gothenburg.�It all�began several years ago as a hobby.�We�both love premium�shoes and are fascinated by the�craftsmanship and artisans behind them. As years went by our interest grew larger and we started to spend weekends and holidays traveling around the world visiting different shoemakers, to meet the people behind the brand and to get more knowledge about the shoe industry.
We don’t have a background in the shoe industry at all, actually, our backgrounds are quite far from it. Olle Boman is a Design Engineer (Naval Architecture) and has worked most of his professional life in the oil & energy industry designing�oil rigs, drill ships, and platforms for offshore wind turbines. Erik Gederberg has worked with logistics and supply chain management throughout his entire professional career.
Q3. What was the reasoning for bringing The Sabot to life, especially with your backgrounds not being in shoes per se
Since we spend so much of our free time talking about shoes, We thought that we might as well try to make a business out of it. But we didn’t want it to be just another shoe store that offers all the same brands that everyone else does. There are several excellent stores around the world and we felt that we wanted to do something different, both in terms artisans and brands, but also how we offer our shoes in different sales channels.
Our ambition is to offer a unique lineup with the best shoes from entry level all the way to the very top level.
Q4. Did you ever think that when you started your IG page that this could become the outcome?
No, not once. When I started my personal Instagram I posted photos of my family, travels and everyday situations. When I started to post photos of my shoes I could see an increase in followers and activities but I could never imagine that it would grow so quickly.
Q5. Please tell us about your shoe selection, how/why each brand fits into play?
We want to offer shoes in four (4) different segments and price points. Starting off with Yohei Fukuda Shoemaker. Yohei Fukuda who introduces his�RTW line this September aims to produce the best available RTW on the market. Using the same materials as for his bespoke shoes, including hand lasting and hand welting Construction. We will stock all four models that are being produced the first year and also offer MTO options.�We are very honoured and excited to be one of very few stores which have been given the opportunity to sell Yohei Fukudas shoes.
Then we have Antonio Meccariello. we offer his own line Argentum DUX. DUX is specially made for resellers and has more details and a higher finish (close to his Aurum line) than the original Argentum line, that Antonio offers from his own store.
Antonio Meccariello also makes our own private label line, which carries our own name – The Sabot.�This�is a collection we developed together with�Antonio.�Our�main purpose�with this line was to create a shoe that has the best quality/price ratio on the market. A really good�quality shoe with the lowest price possible.
Last but not least, we�offer four�classic models from Andres Séndra.�We have more in the pipeline together with Andres Séndra�which we will introduce in the�future. We will continuously look for new interesting brands and keep developing with the ones we are already working with. Our ambition is not to sell the most shoes, but we would like to offer some of the best shoes in each category and combine that with an excellent customer service.
Q6. Do you plan to stay an online shop only or envisage opening up a physical shop? If you do want a physical presence would that be in Gothenburg? Or elsewhere?
Instead of having a traditional shop and/or sell online, we have chosen to offer a mix of a showroom in Gothenburg, our webshop as well as frequent trunk shows around the world. We want to be where our customers are and offer a world-class service and that needs a personal meeting. This gives the customer a unique opportunity to test and feel the products. Given that our artisans and brands are not as well represented as several others, it also gives them the opportunity to reach out to the customer worldwide.
Q7. Is there a specific goal you have with the shop or simply to offer good shoes. A goal for example, like bring makers that don’t sell anywhere else to your shop? Or something of that nature?
We will set up new goals a long the way.�The first goal we have is to offer�brands and makers that are not as well represented globally and make them more accessible to international customers. We want to stand out from�our competitors and just offer something different, brands that you don’t see everywhere.
Q8. On your journey thus far what have you found the most challenging being in the shoe industry now? And the most rewarding?
The most challenging was to just get started. We’ve been planning this for several years now. It has been exhausting at times, but mostly fun. The most rewarding was the launch, and of course get feedback from happy customers.
— Well sounds like exciting stuff here and I definitely look forward to seeing what The Sabot comes up with next in this ever-changing retail world we live in. I want to thank Erik and Olle for taking part in this interview and wish them nothing but success in their adventure in the shoe industry.