If Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik can’t fill your footwear fantasies, Brooklyn Shoe Space is here to help. Founded by footwear aficionado Keiko Hirosue, Brooklyn Shoe Space is a fully equipped space for shoe entrepreneurs, offering everything from educational programming and footwear prototyping to small-scale contract work.
Hirosue, a former website product manager, said she got hooked on shoemaking by taking classes from industry insiders at schools including Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Parsons School of Design. “Making your own shoes is so addicting,” said Hirosue, “since they fit like a pair of gloves.”
Hirosue set out on a mission to assemble her own shoemaking studio by acquiring machinery from companies going out of business. Originally stored in her home, she quickly outgrew that space and in 2011 opened Brooklyn Shoe Space, a 2,000-sq.-ft. workshop in the trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y. “I knew others were interested in shoemaking and had nowhere to go,” said Hirosue.
Since it opened, the facility has developed a network of members who teach classes, run their own product lines and take on consulting work. “It’s become a community space and hub of shoemakers,” said Hirosue. She said its services are affordable to those who are self-funding a startup.
Brooklyn Shoe Space also offers connections with factories overseas.
For $500, a monthly membership includes the use of machinery and discounts on classes. For $300, you get access to the facility over the course of four weekends.
More information is available at Brooklyn Shoe Space.