Once the fit process is complete, our team jumps into action to get the production schedule in place. It begins with our Specification Manager, Carla. She consolidates all the shoe data she receives from the pattern engineer and the designer into a computer generated file called a specification sheet (spec sheet). The pattern engineer gives Carla a list of all the components needed to make the shoe, including all the pieces cut from hides or fabric, such as the vamp, quarter, collar, counter pocket, lining, etc. The designer gives Carla a list of materials to be used: leathers, fabrics, threads, outsole, ornaments, etc. From other members of the product development team, Carla will include every bit of information that is needed to manufacture a specific shoe: thread size and stitches per inch, what kind of finishing is required for the leather, how long the shoe stays on the last, what size box to pack it in, the color of tissue paper used to wrap the shoe in the box and the proper way to do it, just to name a few. No detail is left out.
Once every detail is outlined on the spec sheet, it is sent to the engineering department. They determine the amount of raw materials outlined in the spec sheet that will be needed for each pair of shoes. Based on a long used standard called the Mulderig system to take into consideration the amount of ‘waste’ there will be when cutting small parts out of a large hide or piece of fabric. Other items are simply calculated on the quantity needed for pair of shoes and may include elastic, buckles, ornaments, laces, eyelets, D-rings, tape, binding, insoles, and outsoles. The completed spec sheet is returned to Carla to double check all information before turning it over to the factories. Some aspects of the spec sheet may appear to be overkill, but it is also used by our material distribution staff as a work order to let them know how much raw materials they need to lay out for the production of each case of shoes.
Our procurement manager bases his leather and other material purchases off of the information kept on the spec sheet. Our outsoles are manufactured in North American and our leathers are bought from all over the world. We have one shoe style that is completely animal friendly (i.e. no animal products of any kind in the black, wine and grey quilted Jerrie) and are working on developing more.
Currently the only outsoles we use are “unit bottoms”. These are soles that are made from natural rubber, like latex, or synthetic materials like polyurethane, by heating up raw material until it is liquid and then injecting it into a steel mold to create it’s shape. Each size of shoes, be it a 5 ½, 6, 6 ½, or 7, all have their own steel mold. Steel molds are very expensive and the reason why we sometimes do not make extra-small or extra-large sizes in every pattern.