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Careers in Shoe Repair

 

This is what a new store owner has to say.

I got into the shoe repair business on the recommendation of a friend after I lost my job of 23 years.

Another friend of mine agreed to train me for a while. She gave me about 45 days training, then started my own shop.
I don't recommend starting a shop with such little training. I did it only because I had no other options.

Even though I have always had a strong work ethic and like to work with my hands, the 2 1/2 years since I started have
been the most tiring and frustrating years of my life. I have found patience that I never knew I had.

Despite working 70-80 hours a week and have had to, in large part, learn the trade as I went along, I love the work.
I enjoy the interaction with the public. I enjoy making worn-out shoes serviceable and good looking again. I enjoy the
every day challenge of trying to repair the myriad other items brought for some TLC.

The shoe repair trade is also largely art. I never knew I had any desire or inclination for "art" but I do. Another interesting
aspect of being in the business is how it has taught me how to look at every day items differently. I don't look
at shoes, or luggage, or coats, or the like in the same way I did before.

For someone considering getting into the business I would recommend the following

  • Get the proper training from someone who loves the work

  • Keep a curiosity about how things can be repaired

  • Commit to working the hours needed

  • Never take a job just for the money, but don't take money-losing work either

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help and advise from other cobblers or suppliers

  • Get to know the other cobblers in your area and view them as friends rather than competitors

  • Have at least two suppliers and get to know them personally - they can be a great help to new people in the trade

  • Getting into the business is expensive - don't buy what you don't need

  • Love your work

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