We are incredibly grateful for all of our talented suppliers and manufacturers based in Italy. We’re really excited to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of our manufacturing process - from initial concepts to execution - and introduce you to the wonderful people who help make our shoes unique.
Tell us a little bit about the factory’s history from your perspective. What makes them unique and how do these elements impact their craft?
Working with a factory is a very special type of partnership; a relationship whose success depends on both parties. The factories we work with are small and family owned, mostly in Tuscany and passed down through generations. We love how efficient, clean, and well managed they are and how everyone that works there takes such pride in their craft at every step. Since they have been making shoes for generations, the end result is not only beautiful but also demonstrates a quality we want people to value.
How did you discover this artisan factory? Why did you decide to partner with them?
Michelle Hatch, an incredibly talented member of our team, lived in Italy for many years and has always worked with high-end, well-known brands. Since she knows the field, she introduced us to several factories on our initial trip there to evaluate which factories could be the best fit for us. We were looking at not only the quality of the shoes they produce, but also the values we shared. After much research, we began working with the ones that truly understood and shared our vision.
What has been your experience of working in Italy?
Italy is always beautiful - which is why I chose to live in Florence after graduating from high school. I’ve always felt a special connection to their culture, which continues to draw me in and inspire me. To see how the seasons change every time we visit is magical: from the vineyards in the Tuscan hills turning a golden orange in the Fall, to the damp grey skies of winter, the colorful Springtime flowers and the infinite fields of sunflowers in the Summer. I treasure the wonderful variety of the food and the incredible kindness of everyone we meet and I hope that comes through in our shoes. I really love the excitement of discovering artisans, their process and how they make art out of simple and beautiful materials. All of that inspires us along the way.
Italians are and always have been the most talented craftspeople. Whatever their individual contribution to the process, they take it seriously. I especially admire the way they love what they do and take such pride in their craft. For me, all of the love and pride in the contributions along the way are like using the best ingredients, that are then transformed into the final, wonderful product.
What is it like for you working with the artisans who hand-make your shoes? How do they turn your vision into something that can be worn and lived in?
This is really a wonderful process. Transforming my two dimensional sketch and vision into a three dimensional, beautiful shoe is incredible to watch. That’s why, for me, we work with artists more than artisans. They are all perfectionists - no shoe is considered finished until they know it’s perfect. After creating the last and finding the right heel, the pattern is made, materials cut and assembled and finally, the first prototype is ready for review. We work together on all the minor adjustments, millimeter by millimeter, making sure the fit is perfect and that every detail is just right. When we all agree that the shoe is perfect, the final sample is created and reviewed again. After all of that, it is ready to be sold, produced and be delivered.
What is one thing about the way that Andrea Gomez shoes are manufactured that you believe everyone who buys them should know? What makes the manufacturing process of your shoes stand out?
Shoemaking is a lengthy process. From the original sketch to delivering to our customers, each shoe passes through many hands and the entire process takes approximately 6 months. There is so much research and endless attention to detail in every step of the manufacturing process; making sure each style has a reason for being, making sure each shoe is made in the perfect materials and is beautifully crafted, that each style fits properly and of course, that they are something I take pride in wearing. So much care and thought is put into every step of this process - to create a beautiful collection designed for women, by women, that our customers will treasure… season after season.