Interview with The Lentil and the Mint
We have been lucky enough to speak with Louise from The Lentil and the Mint blog this week, filling her in on all things Rare Pear (as well as a few little q and a's about our 'fave' restaurants and shops!). You can read the full interview over on Louise's blog here, or keep reading below...
Where do you live?
In Topsham a small town on the Exe estuary in Devon.
Ohhh I have so many - But I would have to say the one that inspires me and truly makes me happy is Liberty of London. Everything about it, from the building itself, the staircases and wood panelling, to the yards and yards of fabric...I could spend weeks in there. I used to work around the corner from the store and spent all my spare hours in there just floating around in dreamland! I love its mix of old and new and the truly strange! My mother used to have a Mens Tie business, in the 60's 70's 80's - one of her biggest customers was Liberty. It is my dream to do the same and have Rare Pear in there. Aim for the moon and you're sure to land on a star right?
Heels or flats?
Flats! I have always preferred them...I trip up in trainers! So have always naturally loved flats.
Over the summer we spent a lot of time at the River Exe Cafe, which is a truly magical place. You sail to the cafe, which is moored in the middle of the River Exe. It is a custom built restaurant, decorated with strings of lights and bunting, whilst serving the very best Devon fair. We love it there...Fabulous local food and wine, while watching the sun set across the water...perfect.
Most disastrous buy?
A Bright White DNKY puffa down jacket!
Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
Will have to think about that one!
What is Rare Pear?
Rare Pear is a brand, set up by myself and my husband Ben. It all started from the idea, that beautifully created Women's Footwear and Leather goods, can be designed and made, using the highest standards. Our collection comprises of very limited colour or material runs, and of 'One of a Kind' Rare Pears, the idea being that, the collection is ever changing, always unique and truly special.
Our ethos is to build a range of signature products, all made in England, using traditional craftsmanship. This is something that we are extremely proud of and passionate about. We have worked hard to achieve this and it is at the very heart of our brand.
The artisan skill of shoe making and handbag construction, by hand, from scratch, is a rare thing. Something not a lot of brands do these days. This, for us, is the very essence of our brand and something that we will only ever do. We spend huge amounts of time sourcing all our materials globally with the majority of our leather being from Europe. Working from our Devon studio, our shoes and bags are meticulously cut, shaped, glued and sewn, to create beautiful product, at the very highest level. Whether it is our hand trimmed bridle leather strapping or our soft veg tan leather uppers, that are lovingly buffed, to reflect its natural beauty, each product that leaves our studio has had the highest standard of care and love applied to it. We put an enormous amount of pride and dedication in to each and every element that makes up a Rare Pear product.
How did you come up with the idea?
Both myself and Ben have wanted to create something of our own for a long time. We knew we wanted to make shoes, but to do it in the place we love, using honest materials, beautiful design and traditional construction. We have dreamed of setting up our little business for years, whilst also raising our family. The goal has always been to do both, it enables us to be together, doing what we love, where we love to be.
What is your working background?
I trained in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins, but have always worked in Fashion. I worked in the US for almost three years for Calvin Klein. On my return to the UK I then worked for high street brands and fashion houses alike. At this time I was doing a great of trend forecasting and colour prediction, something that I continued to do, this enabled me to work with different brands, across different products areas. That is when I moved into Footwear and met my husband at Lacoste. His background was in Architecture, but he felt disillusioned with it, so retrained at Cordwainers in London, in Footwear and Construction. Between us, we have worked for many fashion brands, both in the UK, across Europe
and in the US.
How long has it taken from beginning to launch?
Well, when I first met Ben, his dream was to make shoes for himself, so I would say honestly this dream has been in the making for about ten years!
Do you have children?
Yes we have two, A girl and a boy.
How do you fit in working around nappies changes and lego building?
Well there are times when I have been changing a nappy and a delivery arrives, or an urgent call comes in. However I am lucky that between Ben and I we have mastered the art of tag team! Our eldest is also now at school, so that does help. My family and friends are also a huge support to us both.
What 3 words best describe Rare Pear?
Honest Unique Considered
Where does the name come from?
We wanted a name that really emphasised the concept that each pair of shoes, or bag was unique, one of a kind and rare. Ben suggested Rare Pair, that's when a Pear popped into my head, I clearly imagined it in gold, embossed on the insock of a shoe. That is when I knew it was the right name for us. We both love it!
Where are your materials sourced?
We mainly source our collection of materials from the best tanneries, fabric shops and vintage markets from around the world. Our leathers mainly originate from Europe, the majority coming from Italy. All our bridle leather is English, also the Kid Leather, we use to line all our bags and footwear with, is English. We believe it is the softest thing to have next to your skin. It's real luxury. Our range of fabric include one off screen printed designs, vintage fabrics, 'Liberty of London' Tana Lawn, velvets and organic linens/cottons. We strive to find prints that are one offs or have a limited run. I always want to try and find something, just a little bit different, maybe something just a little bit risky.
Who would you most like to see wearing Rare Pear?
Liv Tyler - She is beautiful, her style is timeless, classy, and just a little bit quirky. Like us, I hope !
Where are Rare Pear bags and shoes made?
All our products are made in Devon. Our design studio is in Topsham, all the design, creative and development is done there. Our footwear is made in our factory in Exeter. We use all local craftsmen and women.
Do you do a bespoke service?
This is something we plan to do in the future. We love the idea of a customer having their own Last and being able to choose the material and colour of their shoes from our enormous swatch books. Then being able to add the final touches to their shoes, with a choice of trims from Italy or France, or maybe using one of our handmade buttons to finish their shoes off. We will also offer this across the handbag range as well, thus living up to the idea and name of Rare Pear.
Where can I find out more?
Our website is now LIVE - you can find us www.rarepear.co.uk or look us up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.