Here at The Hand, we have always understood the significance of providing a service that truly embodies the concept of luxury in a holistic sense. For instance, our unique RTW collections have been meticulously curated by us based on our intimate experiences with each maker on both personal and practical levels. Then, there are our trunk shows, which are thoughtfully designed to offer enriching and illuminating experiences with demonstrations of each maker’s artisanship. Most pertinently, our Made-To-Order service aims to deliver a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that reflects your personal taste and the skilled craftsmanship of our makers in exquisite ways. In this latest Journal article, we would like to focus specifically on the latter service should you wish to invest in a pair of Made-To-Orde shoes, which are available through all of our makers except for Baudoin & Lange.
The process starts with an initial consultation, and depending on where you are in the world, this can either be done in person or virtually. It can last to up to one or two hours. During the consultation, our goal is to understand the range of different aspects related to your preferences. We will discuss in detail the specific type of shoe you are seeking, the occasions on which you plan to wear them (from the office to your wedding day), your leather preferences, your existing wardrobe and what’s lacking from it, and your personal style preferences (including details such as your typical choice of trousers) as this will influence the design of your shoes.
The Small But Important Details
Once the stylistic and utility elements have been determined, we’ll continue the consultation and explore the more intricate parts, such as construction and fit. In doing so, we will then be in a better position to provide you with a shoe that has the optimal fit in addition to aesthetics.
For example, would you like a shoe that’s lined or unlined? Both have their merits, so it’s worth thinking about this detail. In addition, there’s a chance that you’re in between sizes. If so, you’ll require a ‘full sock’, which basically is an insole that can reduce the internal space by 1/4 of a size. Then there’s the width of your foot, which could require adding fitting pieces on the last to create extra space around the joints for example. We call this a ‘split width’. By fine-tuning these elements, we can, in partnership with the maker, create you a pair of shoes that fits you better than any RTW pair could ever do.
The Added Extras
Of course, there are more details and options to consider. We can request the maker to add toe taps or toe plates (which can prevent premature resoling). You may also choose from a range of different sole options – from single leather to Dainite rubber soles and more – and even monograms (which can be punched onto the uppers in the exact same way as broguing), whether or not you want shoe trees and even a matching belt, socks and maintenance products.
Overall, there are so many elements to consider, and we’ll go over every single one till you are happy.
The Order Form & Fulfillment
After discussing all the necessary details at length, we will be able to proceed with the completion of the Order Form. This highly comprehensive document provides our makers with all the required information to begin creating your unique shoes.
Once we’ve issued the maker with the Order Form, we will then be able to inform you of the timings and costings. Typically, there’s an upcharge (also called personalisation or Made-To-Orde fee). Not at all the makers we work with though. A good example is Saint Crispin’s, with whom we’ll start working as of July 2023 (more to info to come). Upon completion of the Order Form, we then require a 70% deposit.
Over the next three to four months, we will keep you updated on the production process of your shoes. In close cooperation with our shoemakers, we are currently working on a system so you receive personal updates from us about the various stages of the process, including when the leather is being clicked (a process done by a skilled craftsman using a bespoke knife); when the shoes are being lasted; when they are in the shoe room (an area in the workshop where the finishing touches are made); and finally, when they are out for delivery. This is to be launched in the coming months. We use either DHL Express or UPS for delivery.
Please note that the shoes will be delivered to The Hand, whereby we will personally inspect each pair to ensure that not only are they perfect in quality but all the specific customisation details are accurate. We will then contact you over the phone (or via your chosen method) to inform you that you’re shoes are ready. We will then require the final 30% of your payment.
Usually we contact the customer a few weeks after he has received his Made-To-Order to learn whether he’s happy with his shoes and how he experiences wearing them. If further optimisation is needed, we’re happy to assist.
As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any further questions or concerns.