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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

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
Black and white oxford shoes Polly Jean / B&W handmade flat leather shoes
Black and white oxford shoes Polly Jean / B&W handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Stella Black shoes handmade leather amazing flat shoes
Stella Black shoes handmade leather amazing flat shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Grace Black shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Black shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
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
$198.00 USD
Olive oxford handmade Lace up  leather shoes / Polly Jean  Green flat shoes by Tamar Shalem
Olive oxford handmade Lace up leather shoes / Polly Jean Green flat shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 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
ON SALE VEGAN  handmade Gold oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE VEGAN handmade Gold oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$116.90 USD
ON SALE Vegan handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE Vegan handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$116.90 USD
ON SALE handmade Vegan black flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean black Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE handmade Vegan black flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean black Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$115.20 USD
ON SALE Vegan handmade black flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE Vegan handmade black flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$116.90 USD
Brides ballerina White handmade  flats leather shoes / Vicky Pre order Wedding shoes by Tamar Shalem
Brides ballerina White handmade flats leather shoes / Vicky Pre order Wedding shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
ON SALE Red Leather handmade flat Sandals / Sophie super comfertable sandals  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Red Leather handmade flat Sandals / Sophie super comfertable sandals by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$122.85 USD
ON SALE  Leather Ankle boots with rubber stretch side panel
ON SALE Leather Ankle boots with rubber stretch side panel
TamarShalem
$149.40 USD
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
Handmade shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 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
ON SALE handmade Vegan  black super shine oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE handmade Vegan black super shine oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$116.90 USD
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
Pointy Flat black leather handmade shoes / Stella shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Vicky Black ballerina shoes / handmade leather  flats by Tamar Shalem
Vicky Black ballerina shoes / handmade leather flats by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Become a club member it's free!
Become a club member it's free!
TamarShalem
$0.20 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
ON SALE Vegan handmade black flat shoes, Stella shoes
ON SALE Vegan handmade black flat shoes, Stella shoes
TamarShalem
$116.90 USD
White Vegan handmade flat Sandals / Sophie super comfertable  Vegan sandals  by Tamar Shalem
White Vegan handmade flat Sandals / Sophie super comfertable Vegan sandals by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade  by Tamar Shalem
Special Edition! Aquamarine tied flat leather shoes / Lara light green handmade by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 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
$189.00 USD
Grey oxford shoes, handmade leather flats, Polly Jean  by Tamar Shalem
Grey oxford shoes, handmade leather flats, Polly Jean by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
ON SALE handmade Vegan  black and black dots oxford shoes  by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE handmade Vegan black and black dots oxford shoes by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$116.90 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
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
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 Handmade Vegan grey  flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean grey Boots by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Handmade Vegan grey flat Boots boots / Vegan High Polly-Jean grey Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$115.20 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 Denim Blue handmade Leather Chukka Boots / nika
ON SALE Denim Blue handmade Leather Chukka Boots / nika
TamarShalem
$100.75 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
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
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
Black handmade Leather  flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
Black handmade Leather flat boots / High Polly-Jean Boots by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$258.00 USD
ON SALE Nika camel handmade leather flat  Chukka Boots
ON SALE Nika camel handmade leather flat Chukka Boots
TamarShalem
$172.25 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
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 white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel  by Tamar Shalem
ON SALE Ellie white snake Leather Ankle boots with stretch side panel by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$149.40 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
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
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
Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
ON SALE Aya peep toe black leather handmade flats
ON SALE Aya peep toe black leather handmade flats
TamarShalem
$115.70 USD
Lara leather red metal flat tied handmade shoes
Lara leather red metal flat tied handmade shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Denim Blue shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Black oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
Grace Forest green shoes handmade flats leather shoes by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Grey oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Grey oxford shoes, Polly Jean, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
Grace Mud brown shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Mud brown shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Handmade vegan shoes by tamar shalem
Handmade vegan shoes by tamar shalem
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
ON SALE Vivian leather denim light blue sandals with buckle
ON SALE Vivian leather denim light blue sandals with buckle
TamarShalem
$128.70 USD
Grace Mud brown shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers  by Tamar Shalem
Grace Mud brown shoes handmade flats leather shoes / best sellers by Tamar Shalem
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
ON SALE Sophie,  Black Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
ON SALE Sophie, Black Sandals, Leather Sandals, handmade, flats, leather shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$122.85 USD

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