We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Corry and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
12 years ago, when I first sought out knowledge about shoemaking (sandalmaking specifically), I found that almost nobody was teaching simple shoemaking. And no one I could find was making footwear on a small maker-scale. That was a real surprise to me– a fun surprise, because I realized there was a wide open space for someone like me to create a brand. I decided to name my business the very irreverent name RACHEL SEES SNAIL SHOES. I knew that if there were others like myself, who had a desire to learn to make their own sandals, then I could help them in the way I had needed help. I began by making custom sandals, then started teaching workshops, then shipping out DIY sandalmaking kits, then supporting the kits with videos, selling supplies, and finally I published a how-to book called THE SANDALMAKING WORKSHOP.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I had been making visual art for years (painting, sculpture, performance, you name it) and I had always felt it was a little difficult to connect with others about my work. My artistic interests were idiosyncratic and personal. On the other hand, when I found the craft of sandalmaking and began to show my creations to my friends, the responses were much more enthusiastic than the responses to my art had been. I think that’s because everyone wears shoes, has opinions about design, and is curious about the manufacture of everyday objects. It’s approachable for everyone, universal. So I enjoyed the easy rapport around what I was now making. If you tell people at party you are an artist, they mentally start to tip-toe away. If you tell them you are a shoemaker, they often have many excited questions ready. But my artistic side has been with me all along: in my color and design choices, shoe illustrations, branding. It’s all my art.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I moved to Santa Barbara 6 months ago, it’s a bit of a paradise. California mixed with Mediterranean feelings. Pink sunsets, warm weather. Because I had been living in Portland, OR for the last 8 years I am really appreciating my new sunny surroundings. So I like to do all the classic things: eat tacos, pick oranges and avocados, walk the beaches looking for stones, hike in the hills, and play tennis. My worktable is outside because the weather allows it. My favorite spots in SB are: the Farmer’s Markets, the already-famous La Super-Rica, Art from Scrap, and the Botanical Garden.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe a lot of gratitude to a certain clogmaker in the UK named Jeremy Atkinson. He makes beautiful traditional wooden clogs. I met him at a music festival and got to watch him carve his wood soles with a long blade attached to a stump. He was the first shoemaker to tell me some basics of leather-working, and shared other sage advice such as there not being a lot of money in the custom shoe business. I entered into the world of handmade shoes anyway, curious if there was room for my ideas.

Website: www.rachelseessnailshoes.com

Instagram: @rachelseessnailshoes

Image Credits
Airyka Rockefeller, Kristin Ellis, Lauren Martin

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.