On the other side of my beautiful lake (Cayuga Lake of the Fingerlakes) is a pretty little village built directly on the shore called Aurora. Right before you arrive, a sign for The Aurora Shoe Company can be seen from the road.
I'm so excited to finally be wearing a pair of Aurora Shoes. How lucky we are to have THIS handmade shoe company in our area. I've been in Ithaca for 15 years, and it seems like everyone has a pair. And if you look on instagram at the #aurorashoes you'll see they're popular all over the globe! They are so well constructed that they last for years and, as I'm experiencing first-hand, get sweeter with every step. They're so comfortable it's all some folks will wear!
Aurora Shoe Company was one of maya*made's first sponsors back in the day when this blog used to have sponsorship... but I'm embarrassed to say it's taken me years to finally go check out their brick and mortar workshop. What a treat for someone who appreciates the creative process. David, the owner, gave me a tour of each step that goes into building a shoe. From stretching the leather to cutting the straps, He and his sister, Alyssa (who is does all the marketing and photography), grew up down the road from the shoe company. David bought his first pair when he was 13. Years later, when he was working as an industrial engineer, and wishing to relocate his family back to his childhood town, there was word that the Aurora Shoe Co was for sale. It was an exciting opportunity, and he took it. I love stories of small business bravery! Under this new ownership, the shoes are still lovingly crafted by hand by most of the very same folks that have been making these tried and true shoes for 30 years. David brought in a few new modes of efficiency(engineers are so good at that!) and Alyssa has worked to create an internet presence with lovely photos... but so much of the what has made these artisan shoes such a staple remains the same.
In today's fast-paced world of consumerism, it's always inspiring to see a business model based on slow, intentional and quality craftsmanship. Here are some pics from the tour and several courtesy of Alyssa.
After observing the fascinating process of leather stretching and examining the vintage shoe making tools, I was invited to try on a few different pairs and go on a photo shoot with Alyssa. Dreamy!Aurora Inn to warm up by the fire. Here is a link to more pics of the photo shoot and you must see their new boots! And if you love to enjoy farm to table food when you wear your handmade shoes do check out the link to the menu at the inn. It's a favorite special occasion spot for me, for sure.
Thank you David and Alyssa for keeping alive such a lovely handmade business. Thank you Aurora Shoe Company for such a fun morning!