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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
$198.00 USD
Black handmade leather flats, Stella
Black handmade leather flats, Stella
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
High Quality Durable leather flats, Grace, Comfortable Handmade shoes for Your Fashion Lifestyle by Tamar Shalem
High Quality Durable leather flats, Grace, Comfortable Handmade shoes for Your Fashion Lifestyle by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
Yellow Pepita oxford leather shoes / Polly Jean flat leather women shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade leather flats
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade leather flats
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Navy leather handmade shoes, Grace, high quality comfortable shoes
Navy leather handmade shoes, Grace, high quality comfortable shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black textured leather shoes, black oxford shoes,  Polly Jean flat shoes
Black textured leather shoes, black oxford shoes, Polly Jean flat shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Grace Black handmade flat shoes   / leather shoes  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Black handmade flat shoes / leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Yellow handmade shoes / Grace Yolk flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black sandals, Alice, Flats, Leather Sandals, Handmade, Flat Sandals by tamar shalem on etsy
Black sandals, Alice, Flats, Leather Sandals, Handmade, Flat Sandals by tamar shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
High qaulity leather shoes, Aya ivory, bridal shoes
High qaulity leather shoes, Aya ivory, bridal shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black leather cropped toe shoes, Robin, handmade shiny black flats
Black leather cropped toe shoes, Robin, handmade shiny black flats
TamarShalem
$215.00 USD
Shiny black cropped toe shoes, Robin, soft sparkle flats
Shiny black cropped toe shoes, Robin, soft sparkle flats
TamarShalem
$215.00 USD
Brown leather sliders, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
Brown leather sliders, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Black leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat slide ins
Black leather sandals, Helena, handmade flat slide ins
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Sophie,  Brown Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Sophie, Brown Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Yellow braided handmade Leather  flat Sandals / Sophie by Tamar Shalem
Yellow braided handmade Leather flat Sandals / Sophie by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Sophie,  Black Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Sophie, Black Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Sky blue leather sandals, Alice, comfortable sandals by Tamar Shalem
Sky blue leather sandals, Alice, comfortable sandals by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Olive sandals, Alice, Flats, Leather Sandals, Handmade, Flat Sandals by tamar shalem on etsy
Olive sandals, Alice, Flats, Leather Sandals, Handmade, Flat Sandals by tamar shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Gilly yellow flat sandals, handmade leather sandals
Gilly yellow flat sandals, handmade leather sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Gilly black flat sandals By Tamar Shalem
Gilly black flat sandals By Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Flat navy blue shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
Flat navy blue shoes/ Grace/ leather shoes with a side zipper
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Vegan ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade vegan shoes
Vegan ballerina shoes, Vicky, handmade vegan shoes
TamarShalem
$185.00 USD
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flats
Black leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flats
TamarShalem
$198.00 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
$198.00 USD
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya yellow, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya yellow, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya hot pink, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya hot pink, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya lavender, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
High quality womens leather peep toes, Aya lavender, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black leather peep toes, Aya, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
Black leather peep toes, Aya, comfortable dress shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black womens dress shoes, Nina, Tamar Shalem shoes
Black womens dress shoes, Nina, Tamar Shalem shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Gray dress shoes, Nina
Gray dress shoes, Nina
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Brown leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
Brown leather sandals, Helena, flat sandals, handmade
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Yellow dress shoes, Grace, comfortable flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Yellow dress shoes, Grace, comfortable flat leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 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
$198.00 USD
Gray shoes, Grace, Handmade flat leather shoes
Gray shoes, Grace, Handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Vegan Grace handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Vegan Grace handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$185.00 USD
Vegan Grace black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
Vegan Grace black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
TamarShalem
$185.00 USD
Custom order shoes by tamar shalem
Custom order shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black and white oxford shoes / B&W handmade flat leather shoes / Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
Black and white oxford shoes / B&W handmade flat leather shoes / Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Wine leather flat shoes, handmade shoes, Grace Bordeaux
Wine leather flat shoes, handmade shoes, Grace Bordeaux
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
White Brides shoes, stella,  handmade flat leather shoes
White Brides shoes, stella, handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black and bordeaux oxford shoes, Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
Black and bordeaux oxford shoes, Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Vegan handmade floral shoes, floral oxford shoes, vegan Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
Vegan handmade floral shoes, floral oxford shoes, vegan Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$185.00 USD
Brown leather flat shoes, Grace, chockolate brown
Brown leather flat shoes, Grace, chockolate brown
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Snake pattern ballerina shoes, Vicky, leather lace up flats
Snake pattern ballerina shoes, Vicky, leather lace up flats
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Vegan black shoes, snake print oxford shoes, vegan Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
Vegan black shoes, snake print oxford shoes, vegan Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$185.00 USD
Olive silver leather boots, Tina, Flat boots with a side buckle
Olive silver leather boots, Tina, Flat boots with a side buckle
TamarShalem
$237.00 USD
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Purple Shiny oxford leather shoes, Polly Jean flat women's shoes
Purple Shiny oxford leather shoes, Polly Jean flat women's shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Black sparkle pointy flat shoes, Stella, black leather flats
Black sparkle pointy flat shoes, Stella, black leather flats
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD

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