So I’m very excited to share with you all this Q&A post with POGO Footwear, more so then usual because I’ve actually known Lauren for a number of years – Her mum taught me to ride over 10 years ago, and their family livery farm is just on our doorstep!
However, I’m also excited because the business Lauren has started is truly one of a kind. I only like to feature brands that I believe in, and if I’m being honest POGO Footwear is DEFINITELY one to watch!
Tell Us A Little About Yourself and POGO Footwear
I’m Lauren, the founder and chief designer at POGO Footwear. The business started in 2018 following the completion of my Footwear Design degree. I had been making shoes since 2013, but it wasn’t until a few years later I took the plunge and went to university. The idea was always to continue making after I finished my degree. I absolutely love the making process – seeing a flat piece of leather become beautiful pair of shoes is always quite special for me.
As well as being a shoe fanatic I love horses. They’re the family business and in my blood. This lead to me undertaking a Masters of Arts degree in 2019 to explore equestrian footwear. However that put POGO on hold for the time being. Since graduating in January I have made the move back to my hometown of Nottingham. This has allowed me the time to get back into making!
The name comes from my other pride and joy, my horse. Pogo (the horse) is beautiful, cheeky and totally one of a kind, just like my shoes. The name was a perfect fit!
So What Makes POGO Footwear unique?
Each pair of shoes is entirely hand made by me! It is very rare to find fully handmade shoes in this modern era. There are many ‘hand finished’ shoes, but they are still predominantly machine made.
The leathers I use for the uppers are all selected by myself. I prefer to use only limited run leathers. Mainly because this means there will be no other shoes anywhere else in these leathers! And once it’s gone it’s gone. This makes each product unique. As well as this, using these leathers adds to the sustainability the product. Leather shoes are a relatively eco friendly choice anyway as most leather is a waste product of meat production!
How Long Does It Take You To Make A Pair Of Shoes? What Is The Process?
It takes around a week to make a pair of classic POGOs. Everything is done by hand, I only have two machines as part of the process, one for sewing and one for sanding. There are a lot of processes that go into making a pair of shoes, it’s quite time consuming but a beautiful journey!
They start of as flat pieces of leather, that once stitched together are able to be formed into a shoe. The form I work around is called a ‘last’. This is a solid shape made of wood or plastic that the flat leathers are moulded around.
Imagine the negative space in an empty shoe, that’s the shape the last is. During the ‘lasting’ process stiffeners are added between the lining and the upper to give the shoe shape and strength once the last is removed. The final part of the construction is the sole.
Raw vegetable tanned leather is cut sanded and polished to fit the base of the shoe. And once they’re attached you have a working shoe! The finishing touches are adding an insole sock and trimming the excess lining, before each pair of POGOs gets their own photo shoot!
What’s the most challenging thing about making footwear?
The biggest challenge of making a pair of shoes is getting the pattern right. This is the template used to cut all your pieces. If you get even the most minute detail wrong on your patterns then your shoe may not work. Each size of shoe has a new set of patterns, so there is lots to get right!
What Are Your Goals For 2020?
This year I would love to keep the ball rolling! I have had a fantastic response to POGO so far and it’s been really heartwarming. I’m nice and busy, which is fantastic for both my business and keeping entertained during lockdown! I hope that the positive momentum will continue and I can keep doing what I love, making beautiful shoes. I am also hoping to introduce a new style for summer, so watch this space!
Where Do You See Pogo Being In A Few Years Time?
I would love to take POGO on the road. I want to spread the love for handmade and quality. The dream is to be able to go to shows with a stand to sell shoes, and also show people the process of how the shoes are created.
I think in this day and age we have lost touch with where things come from and I want to give that back to people. This would also require a much larger workshop space and some team members!!
Fancy A Pair?
Get in touch with Lauren to order your 100% unique, one of a kind footwear, or check out the colours available: