West Coast Shoe releases sexy new boots

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
1010_ATS03
The Johanna

Roberta Shoemaker runs a family-owned company that has produced rugged men’s work boots for 92 years. But as the first woman to run West Coast Shoe Co., she has itched to produce a feminine boot line.

After two years, the new line is more than just a dream. Shoemaker, the granddaughter of Wesco’s founder, John Henry, is ready to send her luxury handmade women’s boots out into the world.

Though the men ran the family business for a long time, it was Shoemaker’s Dutch great-grandmother Klaasje Van Spijker (pronounced like spiker, translating literally as “with nails”) who inspired the name of the Van Spijker line of boots (and one shoe), and five generations of family women lend their names to the styles: Jentje, Klaasje, Harmina, Fenna, Johanna. If those women were anything like their namesake boots — sexy, expensive, with a dollop of dominatrix — god help the Van Spijker men.

1010_ATS04
The Klasje // PHOTOS COURTESY OF WESC

“I wanted something with a little edginess to them,” says Shoemaker. “There was no plan to start a whole new business. It just evolved.” The all-leather shoes each take a full day to make. Customers can go to the Scappoose factory for a custom fit, or just order a size, and they retail between $1,240 and $1,800. Shoemaker wanted the collection to be timeless, one that “a woman would treasure and want to wear year after year. It’s going to be a woman that just wants something different and unique.”

The line had a summer soft launch and will hard-launch in January. Shoemaker hopes to distribute them in high-end boutiques, along with making them available online.

The 40-person company also has launched a new electrical hazard boot and a women’s line of Wesco boots in four styles. Shoemaker, who took over from her father, Robert, in 1999, sees the custom business as key to her company’s strategy. Custom-fit boots make up 60% of Wesco’s business.

But this new luxury line is most exciting. “Not only because it is something very different, but it’s something for women,” she says, “And it’s luscious.”

ROBIN DOUSSARD
 

More Articles

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Reader Input: Rx for Health Care

July/August 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers how Obamacare has impacted their business.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS