What is TRS about?


As most unwritten blogs, this one has been coming along for a long time. As most written blogs sites, I hope this goes on for a long time, with regular updates and serving the purpose I set out here:

  • To inform the reader, shoe enthusiasts, fellow shoemakers, clients and potential future ones of the shoe-making process in our factory using bespoke processes but using the help of machinery where better and more productive to do so;
  • To document for the sake of posterity, techniques, processes, small lessons/hacks and of course mistakes that we learn by doing this job day in and day out so that we may remind ourselves at a later point or for others to learn from our mistakes;
  • Our journey from a small shoe making factory in south India with a sharp focus of quality, craftsmanship and honesty in all that we do, to presenting ourselves on the world stage as we humbly attempt to stand (cap)toe-to-(cap)toe {pun not intended:p} with the best shoemakers in the world.

Now with that out of the way to give me focus, who are we?

We are a shoe factory based in Chennai, South India making shoe uppers for the European markets since the 1980’s, Blake shoes shortly there after and since very recently Goodyear welted shoes. From the very beginning, our intention was and still is to set ourselves apart as quality shoemakers and sticklers for detail. This much later caught the attention of a Goodyear shoemaker from Japan (Mr. W) who has since collaborated with us to set up a Goodyear welted shoe making line to make shoes that are comfortable, beautiful and long lasting. To achieve this, our shoes are made by blending the use of machinery where it’s more accurate, precise and time-saving over handmade processes; and  age-old hand made techniques/materials used almost exclusively in making bespoke shoes. This results in a unique bespoke-grade machine-assisted factory-made shoe made available at a price point hitherto unseen in the shoe world.

Bridlen, an online-first brand was started to bring bespoke-grade factory made shoes directly to the customer so we can offer the best value and take direct feedback from users so we can improve as we go. The past 8 years we sold only in Japan, the most discerning of markets where quality is foremost and even the slightest compromise or defect is frowned upon. With the feedback and support we received, we decided to take it global with a .com English web page more recently. The name of the brand is derived from a bridle, the headgear used on a horse to control the animal and keep its eyes on the road. My inspiration comes from the fact that if I keep my eyes on the road ahead and do one thing and one thing only, to make some of the best classic shoes in the world, it would be a life well spent.

Along with  over 40 years of Goodyear welted shoe-making experience that Mr. W. brings with him from Spain, England and Japan and embracing my late father’s ideals of honesty, quality and innovation I have a job cut out clearly for me: to attempt making some of the finest bespoke grade factory made shoes.

Why The Reluctant Shoemaker? That’s for another post. Today, I simply love shoe-making and all things shoes!