our shoes arrived, it’s time to party!

the re-souL shoe collection LAUNCH PARTY INVITE

After many months of sketching, conceptualizing, and collaborating and then many more months of waiting… our shoes are here!! They are really here! Many pairs of shoes arrived at our doorstep early this morning, and we’re still in the process of unpacking, organizing, and admiring. Just a few more days and it’ll be time to pop the bubbly and celebrate the arrival of the re-souL colleciton. Our Launch Party will coincide with Ballard’s Second Saturday ArtWalk, so we are looking forward to a lively evening full of design and art throughout the whole neighborhood.

At the Launch Party, there’ll be shoes galore! And to assist in the celebration there’ll be snacks (Bastille), bubbly (Portalis) and a few sweets (Pete’s Perfect Toffee).

We hope you can make it!

Love,
re-souL

p.s. there’ll be a shoe raffle too!

Creating the re-souL Collection: Design Process

This post is a continuation from a previous story “Designing a re-souL Collection: What if?” 

Back in July of last year, we had the idea of “what if we designed our own women’s shoe collection?” It was a question that became the answer to our initial dilemma. How do we remain relevant, novel and exciting in a constant changing global marketplace?  As a small business, if we want to continue to grow (let alone survive) we have to be willing to change and  creating our own shoe collection just seemed like a natural progression. So we set forth on this journey and we’re ready to share our story.

In our shop, we constantly felt there was a void in our offering for seasonal “must have” styles of shoes. I wanted to create a capsule collection for Spring that would help fill in some of those missing items that our customers were always asking for; like the perfect ballet flat, the essential lace-up oxford, an everyday sandal. You get the picture.  So I started to do some research, collaborate more with our customers and ultimately started to sketch.

shoe sketches

A couple of drawings in my sketchbook.

I will admit it had been a long time since I sketched a shoe. Too long. My first couple of attempts were less than stellar.  But as I continued to keep drawing, it started to come back to me and I remembered what is was like to create patterns, soles, and toe shapes. I really enjoyed using my sketchbook again and was inspired to keep drawing.

Once I had all my ideas and sketches completed, I started to think about colors and the collection’s palette. I created mood boards with images and swatches. I lived with those boards for a couple of weeks and played with the colors, and then narrowed it down to what I felt would be important for the spring season.

A few weeks later, I was ready to put all of my ideas to work at a factory. So, I enlisted the help of our agent and friend in Italy, Cristina. Why Italy, you may ask? First and foremost, they are the best at making shoes hands down. Second, I wanted to work with a small factory that would be able to produce small quantities and manufacturing in other countries just isn’t an option for us. We hope to offer shoes that are beautiful and a good value, we believe Italy is the best place to achieve this.

Mood Boards

Since Cristina and I have worked with each other for years, I knew she would be able to help us find just the right resources. So in late October, I booked my flight and planned to leave armed with my sketches and mood boards for Florence. When I arrived I was anxious, nervous and excited all at the same time. The first night I could barely sleep. It was exhilarating to think that I was going to create something that hopefully would be special to our shop and our customers. I couldn’t wait to get started!

That week, Cristina would pick me up at my hotel every morning and we would make our drives to Lucca and visit the design studio, the suppliers, and the factories.  We would sit for hours at a time collaborating with the modellistas to come up with the right constructions. We would know if all went well once we received our initial samples, which would take a couple of weeks to make. So, I left Italy crossing my fingers that all went well and then it was back to Seattle to await the samples.

IMG_1985

Lucca, the design studio, the factory

When we finally received the initial prototypes it was like opening a present! I could not wait to see how everything translated from a sketch to a 3 dimensional item. Some styles turned out great, others not so much. I refined some patterns and asked for some tweaks. Not everything always turns out the way you expect and that’s okay too. You learn to weed out what would be “nice to have”versus what you “must have”. What’s worth the time to re-visit and what should be “lascia perdere”,  Italian for “forget about it”.

So again, it was up to the manufacturers to get things right,. We were sent round two of confirmation samples to approve. We chose the styles, wrote the orders and all went into production. That’s pretty much it! So now we wait for the collection to come into the shop and online this March. We cannot wait to see what you think!

Studio Story: Iris Guy Sofer of Iris Guy Design

Iris Guy is a resident jewelry designer here in Seattle. re-souL has had the continuing privilege of carrying her work since 2003. Originally from Isreal, she studied at the Bazalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Her work can be found in small boutiques, the Seattle Art Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. We had a chance to visit her studio and talk to Iris a bit of what influences her and drives her to create her wearable works of art.

Iris Guy working at her soldering table.

Iris Guy at work in her studio.

You live in Seattle now, but you are originally from Israel. What was it like growing up? How did you spend your days? Were you always creative?

…Well, growing up in Israel was fun! Since it’s by the Mediterranean, it is warm most of the year. We used to spend most of our days outside playing with friends (after school of course..).

I was born to a very creative family. My mother is an amazing artist as well as her mother. Ever since I can remember myself, I was surrounded by arts and craft. Creating with whatever we could find, especially from nature. My mother was an art and pottery teacher as her second job, teaching children, so being with her was my default.

Iris Guy earrings

Earrings being prepared for finishing.

How did you get into jewelry design?

I earned my B.Des. in visual communications, but ALWAYS had the need to work with materials, and get my hands dirty 😉 rather than work on the computer all day. I knit and sew whenever I have free time, and my first collection of jewelry was hand crocheted jewelry with silver wire (I used to knit for days with my grandmother…)

Jewelry is my natural passion driven from my love for accessories and wearable art, working and sculpturing small scale with varied materials.

What is your studio like? How long have you been there? 

I’m at the current studio space for the last almost 5 years, and sharing the space with another four talented jewelry designers. I find it great and rewarded the opportunity to engage with other artists, brainstorm and have the creative community around.

How do you record your ideas?

I sketch on whatever I find the moment I have an idea… post it, backside of bills etc…

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

Few accessories made by my daughters, conceptual items I have collected and African beads, wearable art and such.

Iris Guy Inspiration wall.jpg

Inspiration wall in Iris’ studio space.

You work with several tools in your studio. What tool do you enjoy using most in your design process?

I have plenty of tools… but I love to use my river rocks collection for new organic forms and putting them together. I love a good wire cutter too. 😉

Your collection over the years has grown quite extensive, do you have a favorite piece?

I LOVE the stone necklace and the large Branch necklace. So different and yet so me.

Do you wear any of your pieces?

I mostly wear my small earrings and the big necklaces when I go out… My little son will pull every piece of jewelry I have on.

Tell us about a current project you are working on. What is the inspiration behind it?

Im participating in the upcoming’ 3X2 Redux’ exhibition at Facere gallery which is a collaboration between glass beads artists to jewelry designers… and inspired by the beauty of the glass beads I was given, hoping to find the right balance between my minimalism metal work and the fullness and richness of the glass.

To see more of the Iris Guy Collection go here and here.

Designing a re-souL Collection: What if?

Well, here we are well into 2014 and we have some exciting news. Starting this spring, we will be selling our very own re-souL shoes for women! It is something that we have been working on for quite some time and now that the shoes are almost here, we are hopeful, a little bit nervous but very excited to share our story with you.

As I am typing this, our shoes are in the process of being manufactured in Italy. But long before this point,  it all started with a question. “What if we designed and sold our own shoe collection?” What if?

re-souL shop

inside our re-souL shop

Eleven years ago, when we first started our re-souL business, it had come at a time when I was ready for a change. I had worked in the product development division for a major department store. Basically, I got to design and sell shoes to our buyers. I really loved my job. I was in charge of forecasting major shoe trends for the American market, I designed and developed new shoe collections for the private labels. I shopped major cities, travelled to Europe, Brazil and China and worked with shoe factories. It was my dream job!  But after 7 years, all that travel had taken its toll and I really wanted to slow down. Legh and I had just been engaged and I didn’t want to be away from home 150 days out of the year anymore.  That was when I had my first “what if” moment. What if I quit my job and we opened our own shoe store?

Color and Mood Boards

color inspiration board and sketch book

I had seen many great shoes and shops from my travels. I wanted to be able to bring some of those things I saw to Seattle. I wanted to carry shoes that you could only find from travelling abroad.  Opening our own shop was fun, exciting, scary and it was the best decision we ever made. We were a different kind of shoe store, special and we loved it.

Fast forward a decade plus. Our little shop has grown a little over the years. We have a website, we have developed strong relationships with our  brands. We have amazing and loyal customers. We have an awesome staff. But we want to keep growing. How do we compete in a constant changing global market? How do we help our team grow with us?  How do we keep challenging ourselves and grow creatively? It’s only natural to ask these questions, don’t you think?

sandal sketches

first round sketches

The answer popped into my mind like the proverbial light bulb going off. Out of my mouth came the question, “What if we designed our own collection of shoes?”

I knew we could do it,  so I immediately started to sketch. I started envisioning colors and materials. Visions of my re-souL gal started popping into my head too. What was she like? What does she like to wear? What’s her style? What is missing from her shoe collection?

As we began to discuss more and more about this, the idea became a goal and the goal became the plan.  So this spring we will be selling our re-souL collection for women and we really hope you’ll like it. We are so excited to show you!

Next time, Part 2: Creating the re-souL Collection: Design Process >>

Studio Story: An Interview with Elisa Shere

Studio Story is a post we are dedicating to the amazing and creative designers we have here in the shop. We thought it would be fun to know their story and what inspires them. 

Elisa Shere is a jewelry designer  from Seattle who handcrafts her pieces using recycled, non-mined sterling silver that was processed in an earth friendly manner. She also believes in being environmentally conscious in her studio too and therefore has eliminated most chemicals from her work space. Her collection is slightly industrial with pieces that are clean and simple. Elisa’s jewelry is sold in small boutiques throughout the country and through her shop on Etsy.com. We spoke with her recently to see what inspires her personally and her process of creating her modern organic jewelry. 

What is your background?

I became interested in making things at a very young age. When other kids signed up for swimming camp, I signed up for pottery or painting classes. I was very interested in hand built ceramics in high school and ended up getting a BFA in ceramics from Colorado State University and afterwards became a studio potter at Pottery Northwest.

 When did you start designing jewelry? How did you start your business?

About 7 years ago I was interested in trying something new and signed up for a metal smithing class at Pratt here in Seattle. It immediately clicked and my skills and designs progressed quickly. In January 2006 I opened my Etsy shop, and launched my line – Elisa Shere Jewelry. Since then my business has grown, I was able to quit my day job as an advertising project manager and currently sell my jewelry at craft shows and stores across the country.

What is your typical work style? What is your studio environment like?

I fabricate each piece of jewelry in my studio, which is quite large and in the unfinished basement of our 1920’s house in the North Admiral neighborhood. My studio has strange old house features, such as glass windows that open into the interior of the house and little wooden cubbies. It was clearly someone else’s workshop at sometime, which I love. It’s a charming space and the raw/vintage, rustic qualities are perfect for my aesthetic.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

The three things I couldn’t live without: a good book, my favorite boots and The Mindy Project (I seriously can’t get over how funny and brilliant this show is, I really like good comedy)

 What are 3 things that inspire you?

For inspiration, I love modern + interior design and find that looking at home design sites, such as Apartment Therapy inspire me. I know that’s strange since I’m a jeweler, but the home accessories and furniture inform me of shape trends. I also enjoy looking through friend’s “favorites” on Etsy.com, I find that to be refreshing and lastly, I very much enjoy being outside and going on walks, that is truly what inspires me the most.

What are you currently working on? What are you looking forward to this holiday?

I’m currently elbow (neck?) deep in production for the three holiday shows I’ll be participating in very soon. I’ll be selling my goods here in Seattle at the Etsy Rain show on 11/29 + 30 and also at shows in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. My favorite time of year is after all my shows are over and I can go shopping for gifts and take a few weeks off to spend with family and friends.

Proud to Present: Iris Guy Design

re-souL is proud to present a closer look at Iris Guy Design.  Iris who is originally from Israel but now a Seattle local, didn’t start out as a jewelry artist.  Although you would never think that looking at her vast collection of beautiful pieces.

Originally she studied to be a graphic designer at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.  Perhaps it was her early training with shapes and lines that got her to this point in her life designing jewelry.  “Each individual piece is handmade, culled from unspoken desires and organic forms, playful rock shapes and architectural forms.” Iris works mostly with silver.  Some pieces are polished for a high shine effect and others are oxidized giving the silver a black matte finish.

Starting small,  as the popularity of her personal collection grew, so did her line, eventually becoming her full time passion.  Today the Iris Guy collection can be found in fine boutiques and galleries around the world.  re-souL is just happy to have seen her evolve and grow from the start!

Oxidized Collection


 

Sterling Silver Collection

For more information, please contact us by phone or email.  All images courtesy of Iris Guy.

Proud to Present: Otter Wax

Otter Wax products - re-souL

We are so excited about Otter Wax!  A new canvas and leather care product out of Portland, Oregon.  Please don’t fret, this product is not made from otters but more like a source of inspiration for the creator Chris Chase.  It all started when Chris wanted to restore his Filson raincoat with a fresh coat of wax.  He had bought a tin of fabric and canvas wax but was disappointed with the results.  Most waxes are made from a base of paraffin, a petroleum by-product of the oil refining process. Yuck! Who wants their coat oily and smelling of petroleum?

So Chris started his venture into a canvas and leather care collection out of necessity and a desire for an all natural product.  The entire Otter Wax line is made using simple, all-natural ingredients that are non-toxic and silicone-free. The only animal-based products utilized are humanely harvested beeswax and lanolin. Lanolin is a water-proofing wax derived from boiling the wool of shorn sheep. None of these care products contain parts of animal by-products collected from the butchering of animals such as Mink Oil or Neatsfoot Oil.

We have tested this product out on our own vegetable tanned Fiorentini & Baker boots as well as our MOMA shoes and we loved the results! Bonus, these products smell heavenly.  The Otter Wax collection has grown from its humble beginnings of the original Wax Bar to include Saddle Soap Leather Cleanser, Leather Salve Conditioning Treatment and Leather Oil.  Just ask yourself this question when you go to care for your beloved jacket or boots,  why would you treat them with anything that you wouldn’t trust using on your own skin?

You can find the Otter Wax collection at resouL.com.