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

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

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...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


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