BlogSunday 19th April 2020
The Story of Green Shoes.
The Covid19 Pandemic has brought us all up short we cannot work and live as we have been doing now surely we can take this oppurtunity to change, think again about global mass production. Where has it got us?
I do understand that many peoples livelihoods depend on it but shifts can be made that can have positive ripples of change through supply chains and across continents. I have been handmaking shoes at Green Shoes for nearly 40 years and I believe we have something to offer however small, in the way that we work and the ethics and ideas that that underpin our business since its beginings in 1981.
In those days we wanted to change the world and were primarily inspired by E. F. Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful", knowing that the economic system that governed our soceity was fundamentally unfair socially and was damaging to the environment. Totnes was a ferment of 'alternative' ideas, from Dartington and "The Briar Patch" in California, the atmosphere was idealistic brave and supportive, rents were low and there was no student debt.....
We wanted to build a strong LOCAL economy, keep it local support other local businesses this creates local jobs for local people and a stronger economy which is better for everyone. There are countless positive outcomes to this basic idea, including stronger community and greater knowledge and appreciation of where and how we live. Now more than ever we are having to look at how our communities work, where we get our food from and who is looking after whom. Shoemaking is only a small part of this but our business model is a useful example of how a small, local business can help to sustain a varied local economy.
We make our shoes in small batches in a workshop that employees 5 full and part time people, skilled and largely enjoyable jobs! We work as a team we are proud of what we make and the service that we give to our customers many of whom we ahve known for years. Our shoes are made from the best quality leathers and Vegan materials and are fully repairable so they last for years, reducing landfill. Our dream would be a tannery on Dartmoor that could supply us with local leather, but this is not available at the moment so because we are so small we buy the end of line leathers from tanneries in Europe via our leather factors.