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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 leather shoes, Grace, handmade flats
Yellow leather shoes, Grace, handmade flats
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
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
Black leather flat shoes, Grace, Handmade leather shoes
Black leather flat shoes, Grace, Handmade leather shoes
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
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
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
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
$130.00 USD
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
Black ballerina shoes, Vicky, Black leather flats
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
Vivian leather black & grey sandals with buckle
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
Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
Rose, Scarlet red Heeled Sandals, leather sandals
TamarShalem
$243.00 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
$130.00 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
Snake pattern ballerina shoes, Vicky, leather lace up flats
Snake pattern ballerina shoes, Vicky, leather lace up flats
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Vegan Grace black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
Vegan Grace black shoes, Handmade vegan shoes
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Vegan shiny black and purple boots, Tina, Black flat boots
Vegan shiny black and purple boots, Tina, Black flat boots
TamarShalem
$215.00 USD
Vegan black boots, Tina, Black flat boots
Vegan black boots, Tina, Black flat boots
TamarShalem
$215.00 USD
Black and snake print leather flats, Mia
Black and snake print leather flats, Mia
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
White leather cropped toe shoes, Robin, handmade shiny white flats
White leather cropped toe shoes, Robin, handmade shiny white flats
TamarShalem
$215.00 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
Brown and gray leather boots, Tina, Flat boots with a side buckle
Brown and gray leather boots, Tina, Flat boots with a side buckle
TamarShalem
$237.00 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
Black leather handmade boots, Kim
Black leather handmade boots, Kim
TamarShalem
$248.00 USD
Vegan Grace handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
Vegan Grace handmade grey flat shoes, by Tamar Shalem on etsy
TamarShalem
$175.00 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
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
Julie Black shoes flat pointy handmade leather shoes
TamarShalem
$99.00 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
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
White ballerina shoes, Vicky, white leather shoes, Brides shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Purple Shiny oxford leather shoes, Polly Jean flat women's shoes
Purple Shiny oxford leather shoes, Polly Jean flat women's shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Brown leather flat shoes, Grace, chockolate brown
Brown leather flat shoes, Grace, chockolate brown
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Gray shoes, Grace, Handmade flat leather shoes
Gray shoes, Grace, Handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Shiny black cropped toe shoes, Robin, soft sparkle flats
Shiny black cropped toe shoes, Robin, soft sparkle flats
TamarShalem
$215.00 USD
Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, Ana
Blush pink leather ballerina shoes, pink ballerina shoes, Ana
TamarShalem
$130.00 USD
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
Black leather slide ins, Helena, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$227.00 USD
Ruby pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
Ruby pink leather sandals, Olivia, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 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
Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
Blush pink leather sandals, Vivian, flat buckled sandals
TamarShalem
$218.00 USD
White Brides shoes, stella,  handmade flat leather shoes
White Brides shoes, stella, handmade flat leather shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Wine laether falt shoes, handmade shoes, Grace Bordeaux
Wine laether falt shoes, handmade shoes, Grace Bordeaux
TamarShalem
$189.00 USD
Black leather boots, Tina, Black flat boots
Black leather boots, Tina, Black flat boots
TamarShalem
$237.00 USD
Yellow leather boots, flat boots, kim, handmade leather boots
Yellow leather boots, flat boots, kim, handmade leather boots
TamarShalem
$248.00 USD
Vegan handmade black flat shoes, Stella shoes
Vegan handmade black flat shoes, Stella shoes
TamarShalem
$175.00 USD
Black sparkle pointy flat shoes, Stella, black leather flats
Black sparkle pointy flat shoes, Stella, black leather flats
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
Black leather crossover sandals, Simone, floral texture, handmade flat sandals
Black leather crossover sandals, Simone, floral texture, handmade flat sandals
TamarShalem
$198.00 USD
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Become a club member it's free!
TamarShalem
$0.20 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
Caramel brown leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
Caramel brown leather ballerina shoes, Ana, handmade flat shoes
TamarShalem
$130.00 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
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
Yellow leather shoes, Polly Jean, flat leather oxford shoes
TamarShalem
$189.00 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

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