A shoe-making company has set up shop in the grounds of the Creamery House in Castlecomer.
Julian Berwick and Marie Brennan who run Shoeniversity have relocated from Cork to the Garden Folly in the grounds of Creamery House, Castlecomer.
“As our business has grown we found that most of our customers were coming in from the eastern side of the country and when our lease expired we decided to move back to County Kilkenny.
“Castlecomer is such a friendly town and we have already been made very welcome,” said Marie Brennan
Designer Julian Berwick trained at the world famous Cordwainer's College – where such luminaries as Jimmy Choo learnt their craft. Julian has worked with designer and high street brands throughout the world including working on United Nations Economic Development programmes in ethical manufacturing and Western design aesthetics. He has also taught shoe design at universities in the UK and Ireland and received a ‘highly acclaimed’ accolade with the Institute of Designers in Ireland in 2008.
Shoeniversity offers expert training in shoemaking for fashion professionals as well as students and graduates, buyers and boutique owners. They also offer leisure courses for those who want to give shoe making a try, experiment with something new or are simply curious about how shoes are made.
Both Marie and Julian have strong fashion industry connections internationally and are both very excited about the possibilities that their business can bring to the region.
Julian and Marie’s vision is to develop something new, that can build on the reputation of Kilkenny as a creative hub and hope to create something that the area can be proud of, balancing tradition and innovation, the vernacular with the spectacular. Their skills and experiences complement each other in that Julian has wide-ranging design, materials and manufacture skills whilst Marie is an experienced manager with a strong commercial background in creative projects.
Shoeniversity won a special bursary award at the Irish Tourism Awards in April and made it to the National Finals of the Bank of Ireland Start up Awards lazy November.22
They are the only place in Ireland where you can learn professional shoemaking and offer a unique opportunity for building a creative hub aroun2d footwear in Ireland for international and Irish based clients.
“We believe our business has the potential for high growth and will develop a new culture of footwear design and manufacture in Ireland and give our future employees and trainees a special environment in which to work. The training courses we run sit side by side our own fashion footwear label – Equipage and we plan to grow our own footwear brand alongside the training courses,” said Julian.
The next introductory course, which is suitable for beginners, starts on April 7 and the next one-day course is May 2.
Marie Added: “People are always amazed about how many processes are involved in shoemaking and our One Day Course provides a great introduction plus you get to leave with a lovely pair of slipper style shoes you’ve made yourself. If you want to try something more ambitious such as high heels or boots then our longer courses are recommended and we are just finalising plans for professional level training – an intensive 16-week training programme starting in August”
Full details can be found by visiting www.shoeniversity.ie Some courses in the summer are already sold out, so early booking is recommended. For further information please call 086 816 5273