“I was a salaryman, working for the Noble Condos for well over a decade before I felt my career couldn’t progress any further – I hit the ceiling. So I decided to start with my own little business here in Ari. I remember seeing shoe repairers in Japan and being so impressed with how they respect what they do, you know, how they respect their tools and their professionalism. I don’t think there are any serious fixers and cleaners here yet, so I started to study this trade.

I couldn’t get four orders in a month when I first started! And I put way too much time and effort into one order. The learning curve was steep. People here didn’t understand the need to have someone take care of their shoes. So I had to sell secondhand shoes on the side to make a living. Then Covid got people locked up, so I guess they had time to Google where to get their shoes renewed. That’s when the orders started picking up.

The first thing I did after opening up again was downsizing my shop. I redecorated and invested more in disinfection tools, cut out the secondhand stuff, and focused on shoe renewal. I work alone and have orders lining up now. I’m proud of the professionalism that I have. The next stop for me would be some fun, collaborative projects we can do for the Ari community.”

Ake, shoe repairer at @pen_ake_sneaker_care

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