Claire Best Shoes
Moreland Made in Brunswick
This committed creative’s shoes are the star of many a private shoe collection. They also feature in permanent collections at the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) and Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).
|Business type||Shoe maker|
|In Moreland since||2010|
|Core offering||Handmade shoes|
WHO… my customers are
My customers are shoe lovers with an eye for unique fashion and design, who want something that stands out and will last forever. Comfort is also important for a lot of people; often I have clients who can't find shoes that fit properly in stores. It used to be more common to buy handmade shoes or have shoes made especially for you. Meeting new customers, they're always so surprised and excited to discover there's someone who still makes them locally.
HOW… I learned my trade
As no formal apprenticeships exist you really have to take your training into your own hands when it comes to footwear. I began the long process of learning how to make shoes by doing as many short courses as I could. Shoes are incredibly complex forms and becoming proficient at every process and technique takes time and lots of patience. I have been lucky to meet and work with some of Australia's most skilled shoe makers. The most invaluable experience comes from learning on the job and making lots of mistakes!
WHAT… my typical working day is like
I spend most of my time in my workshop in Brunswick, where I design, pattern cut and make all my shoes. I am often meeting with new clients as well as conducting fittings for current orders. Sometimes it works out that I might spend a day on the sewing machine or a day making a batch of soles and heels, like a mini production run. I also teach short courses in footwear at RMIT School of Fashion and Design.
WHY… community is important to me
I love having a community of other makers and artists around me to bounce ideas off and to help trouble shoot tricky projects. It's also amazing to watch hardworking, talented people grow their businesses, and to share each other’s successes. Working for yourself, motivation can be difficult. When you’re juggling orders and being proactive about finding new clients, marketing your business and everything else that comes with being your own boss…having a supportive network of other small business owners really helps.
HOW… I promote my business
Marketing is predominantly through social media and newsletters, with my most successful marketing being ‘word of mouth’. I frequently have new customers who tell me that their friend, relative, colleague, had visited the store “and they just have to come and check it out”. I’ve also found people really responsive to my Concierge Gift Service. This is a way for me to offer a personalised shopping experience for those who cannot make it into the shop.
Claire Best Handmade Shoes is a Moreland Made success story!
Read more about the Moreland Made campaign and how your business can get involved.