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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

BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black and white oxford shoes Polly Jean / B&W handmade flat leather shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Black and white oxford shoes Polly Jean / B&W handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Stella Black shoes handmade leather amazing flat shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Stella Black shoes handmade leather amazing flat shoes
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
ON SALE Yellow Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up yolk flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Yellow Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up yolk flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
ON SALE Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Grey leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Grey leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
ON SALE Aya peep toe black leather handmade flats
ON SALE Aya peep toe black leather handmade flats
TamarShalem
$106.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
TamarShalem
$158.40 USD
ON SALE Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black Heeled Sandals, Rose, Black leather sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Black Heeled Sandals, Rose, Black leather sandals
TamarShalem
$194.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
ON SALE Ellie Black Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Ellie Black Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
ON SALE Nika camel handmade leather flat  Chukka Boots
ON SALE Nika camel handmade leather flat Chukka Boots
TamarShalem
$159.00 USD
ON SALE Black handmade Leather  flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Black handmade Leather flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
ON SALE Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Whisky brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up Whisky brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday Ellie white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday Ellie white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
BIRTHDAY SALE Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Vegan handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
BIRTHDAY SALE Vegan handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$140.00 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$181.60 USD
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
ON SALE Susan black and white pointy Flats /  Leather handmade Flats
ON SALE Susan black and white pointy Flats / Leather handmade Flats
TamarShalem
$88.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Blue textured sandals, Blue scales leather  black sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Blue textured sandals, Blue scales leather black sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday Ellie white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday Ellie white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
Become a club member it's free!
Become a club member it's free!
TamarShalem
$0.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black and white oxford shoes / B&W handmade flat leather shoes / Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Black and white oxford shoes / B&W handmade flat leather shoes / Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade shoes, black flats
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade shoes, black flats
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
TamarShalem
$194.40 USD
ON SALE Yellow Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up yolk flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Yellow Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up yolk flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Black handmade flat shoes   / leather shoes  by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Black handmade flat shoes / leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Handmade Vegan grey  flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean grey Boots by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Handmade Vegan grey flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean grey Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$153.60 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Vicky Black ballerina shoes / handmade leather  flats by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Vicky Black ballerina shoes / handmade leather flats by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, brides shoes, pink shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, brides shoes, pink shoes
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
ON SALE Isabelle green snake flat pointy ankle boots  handmade leather boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Isabelle green snake flat pointy ankle boots handmade leather boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade  by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Pearl pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Pearl pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Milk white Heeled Sandals, Rose, brides shoes, leather shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Milk white Heeled Sandals, Rose, brides shoes, leather shoes
TamarShalem
$194.40 USD
ON SALE Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Ellie Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather sandals, Floral print black sandals, Vivian, textured flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather sandals, Floral print black sandals, Vivian, textured flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Crossover black leather slide ins, Simone, floral textured, handmade flat sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Crossover black leather slide ins, Simone, floral textured, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$158.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Brides shoes, Pearl pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Brides shoes, Pearl pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday pre order Isabelle Blue animal print flat pointy ankle boots  handmade leather boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE BLACK Friday/Cyber Monday pre order Isabelle Blue animal print flat pointy ankle boots handmade leather boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade  by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black handmade oxford shoes / Polly Jean flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
BIRTHDAY SALE Black handmade oxford shoes / Polly Jean flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$151.20 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE White crossover sliders, Simone, textured leather flat sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE White crossover sliders, Simone, textured leather flat sandals
TamarShalem
$158.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow crossover sliders, Simone, Handmade leather sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Yellow crossover sliders, Simone, Handmade leather sandals
TamarShalem
$158.40 USD
ON SALE Ellie Black Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Ellie Black Silver Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Heeled Sandals with a side buckle, Caramel brown, Rose, leather sandals
BIRTHDAY SALE Heeled Sandals with a side buckle, Caramel brown, Rose, leather sandals
TamarShalem
$194.40 USD
Handmade vegan shoes by tamar shalem
Handmade vegan shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
ON SALE Black handmade Leather  flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Black handmade Leather flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, handmade shoes, ballerina shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, handmade shoes, ballerina shoes
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat slide ins
BIRTHDAY SALE Black leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat slide ins
TamarShalem
$181.60 USD
ON SALE Mud brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up mud brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Mud brown Leather handmade boots / High Polly-Jean lace up mud brown flat Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$154.80 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE Caramel brown leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
BIRTHDAY SALE Caramel brown leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
TamarShalem
$174.40 USD
BIRTHDAY SALE VEGAN  handmade Gold oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
BIRTHDAY SALE VEGAN handmade Gold oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$140.00 USD

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