The tradition of shoemaking in Menorca is one that dates back to the 18th century, speaking to anyone for as long as they can remember Menorcans have been crafting quality handmade shoes. In a time before tourism, before the rest of the world discovered when Menorca’s beautiful beaches, the main industries of the island were agriculture and footwear. Times changed and in the last few decades, tourism took over as the prominent industry of the island.
Although it is the typical Menorcan avarca for which the island is most famous, in the last century other family-run businesses have revived the local footwear industry. Innovation and imagination has mixed the traditional shoemaking craft with technology and fashion to create various modern footwear. One of these fast-growing local businesses is Homers.
Located on the outskirts of Ciutadella, Homers started out over 40 years ago making high-quality slippers for their local clientele. Today the company makes a wide selection of fashionable footwear, on average 100 models per season, for both local and international markets. Apart from their popularity in Spain, Homers Collections travel to neighbouring France and Germany and as far as Russia, China and Japan. Their success in appealing to the different trends and tastes of different cultures is a testament to their brand philosophy; to craft beautiful shoes with personality that are both comfortable and practical.
The company’s website proposes two questions about how they craft shoes:
‘Is what we do art?’ and ‘Can you make things well without passion?’
A visit to any shops selling Homers shoes will quickly answer the first question with a resounding yes. It’s easy to feel like Cinderella in shoe heaven with so many exquisite designs to choose from. It almost seems unfair to have just two feet to wear only one pair at a time!
However, it’s a visit to the factory that confirms shoemaking is indeed art from the processes of design, through each stage of the production and even in the sales and marketing of each collection. It is also in the factory where their passion for crafting shoes is put into practice.
Homers take pride in maintaining 100% of the fabrication in Menorca, employing 49 locals who specialize in delivering excellence to their part of the production chain. There are four main phases in the production process that each contains a series of steps carefully executed ensure the quality of the product.
- Phase one is cutting the skins that form parts of the shoe
- Phase two is to close the quarters and stitch the skins which form the upper part of the shoe
- Phase three the skins are put in a mold and the sole is added, and
- Phase four includes a quality check before packing where small imperfections are corrected before they are polished and put in boxes.
Each pair takes approximately 90 and 100 minutes to produce and is passed through the many skilled hands at each step of the process, from the cutting, to sewing, assembly, and finishing.
One of the challenges the company has surpassed has been the fusion of the traditional handicraft of shoemaking with advances in technology. It’s no doubt that with the assistance of computers and machinery many steps in the process are sped up to increase the amount of produced each day. It’s a 50/50 split between craft and technology, but so much of the process is still handmade. The company places it’s greatest value in its people with their ‘know how’, an asset that no technology could replace and that will ensure the Menorcan tradition of shoemaking will stay true to its roots whilst moving with the times and fashion in the future.
Take a look at this video to get a peek at Homer’s passions for making shoes:
Where to next for Homers?
In addition to the fun of creating beautiful and varied collections each season, Homers look forward to opportunities to build new relationships and present their product to new markets so that as many people as possible can discover Homers shoes, and of course experience the great Menorcan tradition that is crafting shoes.
For more information on which shops stock Homers shoes, or to shop online, visit the company’s website at www.homers.es
In the meantime, enjoy a virtual tour of the factory in Ciutadella!