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[March 22, 2014]
Govan factory is shoe-in for stars [Evening Times (Glasgow, Scotland)]
(Evening Times (Glasgow, Scotland) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) AFTER being in business for nearly 90 years a Govan shoe factory has branched out and attracted a celebrity clientele.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Rod Stewart are just two of the top names to snap up a pair of handcrafted shoes from Buchanan Bespoke Footwear.
The factory is a stone's throw from the Clyde and employs 55 people.
Buchanan Bespoke is part of Buchanan Orthotics, a family-run company that has been making shoes - about 8000 pairs a year; mostly speciality footwear for the NHS and private patients - since 1925.
It is one of only a few independent shoemakers in Scotland, and its Buchanan Bespoke range is a departure for the company, seen as an alternative for men interested in more than the standard ghillie brogue or black kilt shoe - boring in comparison to Buchanan's offerings - and one in which customers can choose a bespoke shoe of their own tartan or tweed choosing.
They average around pound(s)300 a pair.
The company is making a pair for Rod Stewart, using the singer's namesake tartan; has made a pair for Sir Alex Ferguson, commissioned by Irn-Bru as a gift marking his retirement from Manchester United; and is also currently working on three, shall we say, rather loud red pairs for members of bagpipe group The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
It is making about 10 pairs a week, each pair is handmade by expert shoemakers, many have been honing their skills for decades.
Factory manager Billy Reid said: "This is where we keep all the leathers. That's the sample shelf. It's a work in progress. That is all the materials we're hoping to use in the future." Ryan Currie, the marketing manager and person responsible for spearheading the brand, said: "The only thing with wild deer skin is, when you're actually cutting the leather, you have to cut around the bullet holes.
"We've just sent our first pair to Australia and got a nice e- mail back from the customer saying he loved them. Because it's a made to order service, you build up a rapport with the customers." He said the concept was the brainchild of the company's financial controller, who had the idea to manufacture shoes using tartan.
Harnessing the help of Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International - and with Ryan, the forward-thinking next generation managing the marketing - the long-term goal is to drive the brand into America, Australian and, "anywhere we can," where they hope to tap into expat communities and a worldwide fascination with all things Scottish.
The brand is also in talks with American suppliers.
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