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|Articles - October 2010|
|Tuesday, September 28, 2010|
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.
“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.”
Thursday, February 27, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
Because they have little chance of working for someone else, today’s teens need to be entrepreneurs. But, first, we must teach our teens that entrepreneurship starts small.
Friday, April 04, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY BRANDON SAWYER
The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
A new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT
The coastal town of Coos Bay appears poised to land every economic development director’s dream: a single employer that will bring hundreds of family-wage jobs and millions in tax revenue.
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