Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Grant.
Molly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started leather working when I was in my 20’s and became a juried member of the League Of New Hampshire Craftsmen in 1989, juried in with my leather handbags. I began learning about shoemaking (Cordwainer Craft) in 1991 and was juried into the league as a shoemaker in 2006. Paul Mathews was a master Cordwainer (he passed in 2009) and I learned the craft from him. We traveled all over the country to fine juried craft shows taking custom orders for shoes and also selling our line of ready-made shoes.
We met many celebrities over the years and made shoes for Carly Simon, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Bill Murray, Demi Moore, Michael Douglas, Debra Winger, Valerie Harper, Julie Christie, Jane Withers, Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) Robert Walker Jr., Amanda Seyfried, Timothy Hutton, Lindsay Wagnor, Dorothy Hamill, Cyd Charisse, Jennifer Tilly, Wm F Buckley, and others.
After Paul passed away, I continued to run the business as he was and also started teaching shoemaking at Craft Schools around the country…Paul and I started teaching workshops at our shop in Deerfield, NH in 1993, so it was an easy transition for me to teach at schools. For the past few years I have been cutting back on the number of craft shows I do yearly, except for a few favorites that are really top notch, like the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington DC. and American Craft Council Shows in Atlanta and San Francisco. My schedule for 2018 is filling up with Craft School Teaching such as Touchstone (PA), Arrowmont (TN), John C Campbell (TN), workshops in my NH Studio as well as a few highly regarded Craft Shows.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth road? Certainly not, due to the changing markets. Shoe production in the US moving to overseas production has hurt us in many ways…Materials have become increasingly harder to find and also more expensive.
Finding the right market is always tricky when you are selling custom handmade shoes that range in price from $700-$1200.
The Cordwainer Shop – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We make custom handmade shoes by tracing peoples feet. Customers choose a style they like (we have over 35 styles and variations to choose from), and the leather choices and we guarantee the fit. We specialize in classic, low heeled high-quality leather shoes. We are known for making beautiful timeless shoes and have many customers who have been buying for decades. I think one thing we are proud of is our commitment to quality and service. Out styles always seem to be in style, classic, beautiful designs. A low-heeled shoe with a foot shaped toe box is a healthy ergonomic fit for the human foot.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being invited four years in a row to participate in the Smithsonian Craft show is a definite highlight.
Having Paul G Mathews (my mentor) entrust me with the Cordwainer Shop to carry on his legacy, and basically making it my legacy too, after his passing.
Being invited to return to teach at the craft schools that have welcomed me and my craft.
- Custom shoes range from $695-$1200 for mens & womens
- Deerfield Workshops are priced, all inclusive, room and board, instructions and finished shoes$1800 per person
- Schools workshops range depending on which school from $600-$900
- Website: cordwainershop.com
- Phone: 603 261 7742
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: cordwainershop
- Facebook: cordwainershopltd.