A Day In The Life Of An Amateur Bootmaker

I feel like life has been slightly mental lately so my blogging time has been fairly limited. Whoever thought it was a good idea to hand-make a boot whilst working, trying to start a business & remain sane was crazyyy..

Yes, that line is meant to be straight
(insert crying emoji)

Anyway, where am I up to I hear you ask? Well, Dan is currently teaching me how to stitch my shoe together and honestly I’m worried it may be impossible! I am prone to exaggeration but it is most definitely the hardest part of boot making so far.

Disclaimer: If i’ve already said that, completely ignore me. I was a naive beginner boot-maker who had no idea what lay ahead….

I mean I should’ve guessed it by the sympathetic looks I got when they realised my next stage was stitching. The “awwww” & “oh, enjoy that part” should’ve given the game away at just how terrible stitching was gonna be!

So, I bet you’re wondering – whats so bad about stitching? Well, I’m about to tell you.. Stitching takes place when you attach the insole to the leather. You know the funky yellow stitching famous on Dr Martens? That’s basically what I’m attempting to do. Minus the machinery, all by hand, using a pig whisker, some thread & a bit of wax.

So how do you do it? Once again its literally like going back to the stone ages. First, you have to prepare the thread. Then I had to rub wax up and down the thread to make the pieces stick together. You then weave it onto a pig whisker which is used as a needle to get through the holes you make in the boot….. All sounds simple right?

The hardest part comes next. Those holes have to be made meaning I have a little stick thing with a needle on the end (i’m getting really good at these technical terms) which I have to pierce through the leather, the stiffener and the insole. All in all, not ideal for a weedy armed gal like me.

Dan told me that when he first attempted stitching, his dad made him do it all on his own. He told me it took him a whole day to do 1 boot and he was nearly in tears by the end of it. Well, he was not lying! Tears, tantrums, hunchbacks and cut fingers should be expected at this stage of shoe making…

But the end is nigh (I bloody hope so anyway!) And although the stitching lines are wonky, slightly bloody and definitely not perfect – at least I’ll be able to say I put my blood, sweat and tears into it!

Not to milk it but….. many fingers were injured in the stitching of this boot

Just a reminder that the real prototype is currently being made in a factory in Tunisia. I have a really good relationship with the owner and all is going to plan. I will have 2 prototypes made very soon, YAY!

If you want to keep updated on my journey and receive updates on when WildSole will be crowdfunding, please add your email via this link or comment below https://www.krowdster.co/l/27fc1

Muchos Gracias!

Gem x

The best walks in Yorkshire (in my humble opinion)…

So, where to start? Being from the red brick streets of Manchester I was really shocked when I moved to Yorkshire at how beautiful it is! Stone, greenery, amazing walks – its all my cup of tea.

But what walks would I say were my fave so far? I would love to be one of those people who could break down where to park, how long the walk is etc but I get chauffeured there like the pampered pooch I am and pay little attention to these details… But this is my list of favourite rambles to date:

Disclaimer: If I’ve missed out any deets then you can head to good ole Google for that.

1.Malham Cove

Harry Potter lovers its time to get fan-girlin’. The deathly hallows was filmed on the ‘brain’ of Malham Cove. This is my favourite of them all as the mix of scenery is incredible! The other highlight is the cute pubs and bars at the end of the walk. Head to Beck Hall for a bevvy and something to eat – you wont be disappointed.

2. Hardcastle Crags – Hebden Bridge

If you fancy a lil Sunday stroll to burn off those Yorkshire puds then you need to head here. This is only a small walk but the scenery and mass of trees is all you need! As always, its not all walk no play – about 30 mins into the walk you get to an old mill where you can treat yourself to a hot choc or whatever else tickles your fancy. Its a good mix of being beneath the trees and risking it all on the stepping stones of death (ok, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic there)…

3. Bolton Abbey

Get your £2 portable BBQ’s at the ready, its Bolton Abbey time! This is such a good summer spot! Lie out next to the river, jump in or bring a inflatable hot dog to glide down the stream on – Bolton Abbey has it all. Theres a walk which has obstacles for the kiddies (or the big kid in you). Just a lil tip from me to you – if you’re a 5’10 string bean like me, talking from experience, I’d probs give the obstacles a miss….

4. Ingleton Falls

If you ever fancy getting lost in waterfalls then this is your place! It takes around 2 hours to plod through it all but this is one of the most relaxing, scenic walks in Yorkshire. From waterfalls, to tree lined paths and moorlands- its a beauty. Not many eating/drinking spots along the way here so I’d recommend bringing a picnic!

What are your favourite walks? If you’d like to add any helpful comments/tips that I definitely missed then please feel free!

Gem x

Why is it important to rediscover our WildSole?

Well, where to start? Theres quite a few reasons I decided to start WildSole, but as you’ve probably gathered by now, I could ramble on for days so I’ll stick to 3 main things that inspired me…..

Firstly, as cringe as this may sound, I want to create a brand that inspires people to get out there and explore more. I hate how obsessed we have become by social media and screens in general and I thought it was about time I tried to change that. Don’t get me wrong, I love an Instagram binge as much as anyone, but I noticed more and more that I was feeling pretty empty from it….

Personally, I find that if I haven’t been in close proximity to a tree for a while (not a tree hugger, I swear) I start to forget who I am…… Not like a Friday night, had too many vodkas forget who I am, but more that I become tense and irritated by things that wouldn’t normally bother me…

I don’t know about you, but do you find that the more time you spend viewing other peoples lives, the more frustrated you become with your own? I end up comparing myself to the perfect instagrammer – she’s got a body to die for, sipping cocktails on a beach with male models tending to her & butterflies fluttering around her head, kind of perfect….. It’s silly, but I forget that actually, she’s probably got sand up her knickers and is worrying about her sunburnt nose and the slight bloat from that slice of sourdough bread she had for lunch. (I eat Aldi’s own but this girl – she’ll eat nothing less than a perfect batch of freshly prepped sourdough!)

Basically, what I’m trying to say is – we all too often look at other peoples lives and forget that they too, have the same worries, problems and insecurities as we do. I’ve found the only way to disconnect from this is to unplug and take yourself on an adventure, live in the moment, hug a tree if need be.

My point is, we get consumed too easily & I want to create a brand that inspires, but most of all I want to start a mission (imagine I said that in a deep mysterious voice – there you go, much more effective). No, on a serious note – I do. I want to get people out into nature and throw them into a forest. I wanna encourage people to follow their dreams and adventure until they realise how amazing this world really is (going all David Attenborough on you there – apologies).

I want people to put on a pair of WildSoles and feel like they can achieve anything. I want people to embrace their quirks but most of all, rediscover that WildSole we’ve all become so disconnected from..

GIVING BACK:

Remember in a previous post I spoke of my time when I attempted to become all buddhist monkish? (not a word – I don’t care). Well, during this time I became obsessed with the Dalai Lama and I promised myself that if I had the opportunity to start something, I would do it with the aim of helping others…

I have my own ideas on how I would like to do this, but I’d love to hear your suggestions as to how you think WildSole could, not only inspire, but also help people too.

Pretty please comment below any suggestions, I’d love to hear your thoughts…?

Gem x