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

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


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