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Featured Shop: Tamar Shalem

Nov 18, 2013

by Tamar Shalem

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Tamar Shalem, and I design and make shoes here in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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My shoe-making story starts during my first year of industrial design studies at Shenkar College: I had to design a sandal as part of a school project, so I came up with a collection of shoes made from fresh fruits and vegetables. I enjoyed working on it so much that I couldn’t wait for my four years of studies to be over so I could make more shoes! When I graduated from college, I got married and decided to make my own bridal shoes. I made a pair of nice flats, but they broke apart in the middle of the event. Understanding that I had zero technical skills, I signed up for classes at The Guild to learn more.

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I select and test all of my materials to make sure they are sustainable and durable, and I am constantly looking for new materials to work with. I examine every piece of leather to see how it feels because I believe shoes should be comfortable – not just pretty. I like buying a small stock of unique leather and letting it inspire me. The number of shoes I make in one style is often a result of the quantity of leather I have, and most of my designs are limited editions.

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I pick a theme for every season, which often changes during my design process. I start by sketching on my lasts and paper until something happens. This stage is impossible to explain in words, but when I know I have something, it’s one of the most exciting moments of the whole process. Once I have an idea, I cut a pattern and start sewing it and processing it in 3D. When it turns into a shoe prototype, I measure it on different feet to get feedback and make adjustments until the design is ready for production.

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I work with a family of shoemakers that have been producing shoes for nearly 40 years. All of my shoes are hand-sewn and assembled the old-fashioned way, with a lot of love and attention to the smallest details. Working with my manufacturer was not easy at first. I had to learn how to communicate with him in order to get what I was aiming for and also trust his technical skills and knowledge when he said a design could or could not be made, or had to be changed. Slowly, he’s started to understand my design wishes, and I’ve started to understand the production limitations.

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I spend about 3 days a weeks at the workshop, taking part in all production stages. The production of my shoes is very traditional: most of the stages require very simple hand tools and, of course, the craftsman’s skills. I believe that a major part of my product’s character is the fact that they come from a traditional production line, rather than a mass production one. Each and every shoe is designed and assembled by hand with full attention.

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I manage my Etsy shop as if it were an actual shop, rather than a virtual one. I treat my visitors as guests – as if we were meeting face-to-face – and assist them in every way I can, doing my best to offer them a great shopping experience before, during, and after the purchase. I am always honest in my answers to customers so they have a clear sense of what they are going to get. Many of my clients are returning customers, and a few of them have several pairs of my shoes. This is the greatest compliment of all and the reason why I love my job so much.

Studio and maker photographs by Gilad Bar Shalev.

Featured Shop Archive

Black and white oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade flat leather shoes
Black and white oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black handmade leather flats, Stella
Black handmade leather flats, Stella
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$249.00 USD
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade leather flats
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade leather flats
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Navy flat shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
Navy flat shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Ruby pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
Ruby pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black Sandals, Rose, Black heeled leather sandals
Black Sandals, Rose, Black heeled leather sandals
TamarShalem
$243.00 USD
Brown heeled Sandals with a side buckle, Caramel brown, Rose, handmade leather sandals
Brown heeled Sandals with a side buckle, Caramel brown, Rose, handmade leather sandals
TamarShalem
$243.00 USD
Brown leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
Brown leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
White leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat sandals
White leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Black textured leather shoes, black oxford shoes,  Polly Jean flat shoes
Black textured leather shoes, black oxford shoes, Polly Jean flat shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flats
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flats
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Blue textured sandals, Blue scales leather  black sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Blue textured sandals, Blue scales leather black sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Grey leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Grey leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Grace Black handmade flat shoes   / leather shoes  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Black handmade flat shoes / leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Milk white Heeled Sandals, Rose, brides shoes, leather shoes
Milk white Heeled Sandals, Rose, brides shoes, leather shoes
TamarShalem
$243.00 USD
Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
TamarShalem
$243.00 USD
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, black flats
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, black flats
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Blush leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, brides shoes, ana, pink shoes
Blush leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, brides shoes, ana, pink shoes
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, Ana
Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, Ana
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Vegan ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade vegan shoes
Vegan ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade vegan shoes
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Vegan handmade black snake oxford shoes, black oxford shoes, black flat shoes
Vegan handmade black snake oxford shoes, black oxford shoes, black flat shoes
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Flat navy blue shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
Flat navy blue shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Become a club member it's free!
Become a club member it's free!
TamarShalem
$0.20 USD
handmade Vegan  black and black dots oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
handmade Vegan black and black dots oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Vegan black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
Vegan black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Black leather oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade leather shoes
Black leather oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade leather shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Red sandals, Simone, Scarlet red leather, crossover sandals
Red sandals, Simone, Scarlet red leather, crossover sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem, special order
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem, special order
TamarShalem
$240.00 USD
Vivian leather black & grey flat sandals with a side buckle
Vivian leather black & grey flat sandals with a side buckle
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$258.00 USD
Blush pink textured leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Blush pink textured leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Black handmade oxford shoes / Polly Jean flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Black handmade oxford shoes / Polly Jean flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black leather sandals, Floral print black sandals, Vivian, textured flat buckled sandals
Black leather sandals, Floral print black sandals, Vivian, textured flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$258.00 USD
White Brides shoes  handmade flats leather shoes / pre order white Stella gorgeous shoes
White Brides shoes handmade flats leather shoes / pre order white Stella gorgeous shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Special limited Edition! Purple Shine oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women's shoes
Special limited Edition! Purple Shine oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women's shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
TamarShalem
$99.00 USD
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Special Edition Susan Mint & Black pointy Flats /  Leather handmade Flats
Special Edition Susan Mint & Black pointy Flats / Leather handmade Flats
TamarShalem
$99.00 USD
Susan White & Black pointy Flats /  Leather handmade Flats
Susan White & Black pointy Flats / Leather handmade Flats
TamarShalem
$99.00 USD
VEGAN  handmade Gold oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
VEGAN handmade Gold oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Black leather crossover sandals, Simone, floral texture, handmade flat sandals
Black leather crossover sandals, Simone, floral texture, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Brown leather sliders, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
Brown leather sliders, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
White leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
White leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
Pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Blue scales textured sandals, Olivia, flat buckled leather sandals
Blue scales textured sandals, Olivia, flat buckled leather sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
Grey textured leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Grey textured leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Crossover black leather slide ins, Simone, floral textured, handmade flat sandals
Crossover black leather slide ins, Simone, floral textured, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Crossover sliders, Simone, Scarlet red leather, handmade sandals
Crossover sliders, Simone, Scarlet red leather, handmade sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Pearl pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
Pearl pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD

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