Industry Secrets Part 1: ‘Handmade’ is a Lie
Pictures in post represent what actual handmade shoes look like.
The thing about me is that I believe lying is the most dangerous weaponry there is. It can fool millions, deceive entire groups of people, and lead many to have a perception that is built on falsehood. 90% of brands that claim their shoes are handmade are a part of that great deception. Your shoes are not handmade. Yet that is what they want you to believe in order to ‘make the sale.’ And that is a problem. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you do. But a lie is a lie and let me explain why. ‘Made by hand’ is how shoes were made before the industrial revolution. In fact, well into that time period, they were continuing to make by hand as well. But as the industrial revolution grew and grew, machines were made to ‘speed up the process’ and make things more efficient so that the companies could scale their business and make more and more money with larger productions. No matter how good a shoemaker is, they cannot do things even close to as fast as a machine can.
So the footwear industry changed. And the issue began that these actual Handmade shoes were still being marketed as such even though machines were now doing 90% of the work. No one was going to correct the companies and the companies were surely not going to downgrade their marketing by saying ‘machine-made.’ Why would they do that? Honesty doesn’t pay in business. Deception often does. You see if a bespoke shoemaker makes handmade shoes how can a factory-made shoe also be handmade? What then separates the idea between them? Their definition of structure so to speak. Education is vital in this regard as it is important to know what distinguishes $300 shoes from $1500 shoes as one of the 3 things that make up a shoes’ price is the amount of labor put into them.
This issue is also what fools people into falling for the trap of some Pakistani/Indian factory ripping off the pictures of good shoemakers and using those pictures to sell shoes at only $99 online, using the words ‘Handmade’. If people actually understood the difference between ‘handmade’, ‘machine-made’ and good-quality versus bad no one would be tricked by these scams and purchase shoes from these scam artists. Yet as there are shoe salesmen at department stores that throw around this term ‘handmade’ like most normal people use the word ‘the’, the great deception furthers itself. And this is why people buy Meermin shoes for $200 and think they should be like Saint Crispin’s quality. Education is education. And lack of it always creates issues. Educate yourself on what ‘handmade’ truly means, if not for yourself at least for the respect of the artisans of the world actually making their products by hand.