About Us

Mikhail Bliskavka

As cliché as it sounds, I recently found myself turning into a bit of a Renaissance man. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and then the Air Force as a reservist, I went to school for electrical engineering. During my studies, I stumbled into the world of crafted, handmade shoes through the Goodyearwelt subreddit. What drew me in was the styling and the look, what kept me interested is the craftsmanship and the built to last mentality. In our disposable world, here is something that's meant to last, get better with age, show your story with every scuff and patina. Once it wears out, you can take it to a cobbler and get it refurbished with a new sole, just like in the old days! After being a collector for a while, I met Chuck, the owner of Tulsa Shoe Rebuilders. Towards the end of my studies, I ended up hanging out at his shop a lot during downtime, and ended up making a pair of chukka boots with his coaching. Having a tangible result of my effort, something functional and beautiful made by my own hands was an exhilarating experience.  I was hooked – Read More

Christine O'Leary

Having moved to Florence on a whim after living in New York City working in media and event production, I stumbled into the world of shoemaking looking for a job in the Italian city. I was contemplating throwing in the towel when my friend got me an interview at Stefano Bemer. They needed someone who was eager and could learn quickly. I was paired with their shoe finishing extraordinaire who kindly and patiently taught me the meditative art of shoe polishing and tassel making, coached me through the daunting task of taking a $5,000 bespoke shoe to the belt sander, how to use a knife and not slice my fingers off, how to use “gerbafil” without fainting, and how to confidently burn initials onto perfected leather violin soles. It was so much fun. Learning and mastering these new skills elicited a certain kind of confidence and like Mikhail, I was hooked. Read More