Some of us would prefer to work in a corporate company. Others, would want to set up their own business.
For Dan Torres, his passion for shoes turned into an unexpected business venture.
It all started with his addiction to shoes – he often bought expensive shoes worth PHP500,000 or more, including brands like Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino.
I can no longer afford expensive shoes, that’s why I made my own.
Passion Turned Into Business
It all started a year ago in September 2016.
“I didn’t want to work for a corporate company after college, so I was preparing to set up my own business.”
They were a family of shoemakers, so his dad told him to make his own shoes.
Heeding his dad’s advice, he would spend his days touring around his dad’s shoe factory and observing how they make shoes.
From there, he started to learn and make his own from scratch.
“After making my own shoes, I would post them on social media. When my Facebook friends and relatives saw my post, they said that they liked the shoes and told me to make a business out of it.”
After the affirmation, he started making more shoes and the response was surprisingly good!
He never thought that the business would boom, but many people actually bought shoes from him.
Spurred by the good response, they started producing 10 to 15 pairs of shoes per week.
Besides the increased supply and demand of shoes, business also grew in terms of headcount.
Dan started with only three people in his team, but it soon grew to a team of seven.
The Struggles Faced
Although he hailed from an affluent family, he did not get any financial support from his parents.
Instead, he had to sell his Mercedes-Benz to buy machines and equipments to start his shoe business.
I didn’t ask for even one centavo from my parents. I sold my car, and didn’t have a car for a year.
For the the first six months, Dan said that there were times that made him want to quit because there were no orders coming in.
“I couldn’t maintain manpower if there are no shoes to be made, because I had to pay them [his staff] daily,” he said.
Getting Up From The Fall
The turning point for the business was when he collaborated with famous designers like Randy Ortiz and Rajo Laurel.
“I collaborated with designers for them to know my brand. At the same time, these designers don’t have shoes in-house so I partnered their suits with my shoes.”
Thanks to this collaboration, he was able to showcase his designs in different fashion festivals like Manila Fashion Festival; and this spurred more orders for him.
One of his biggest clients is Governor Ilocos Sur, Chavit Singson, and Hollywood actor, Steven Seagul.
Steven had wanted combat alligator shoes, which was Dan’s specialty.
It was also quite difficult for him to source for materials needed for the shoes that Steven Seagul wanted, but Dan simply sees this as a challenge.
Walking Down In Style
DANT offers both ready-to-wear (RTW) and bespoke shoes, which are custom-made for his customers.
A handmade shoe is specifically made for you. The shoemaker measures your feet, because no two feet are the same. There are some who are flat-footed and some are bunion.
During the fitting, the customer gets to try on the prototype pair of shoes made in an inexpensive leather; and the shoemaker checks if anything needs to be changed or altered.
The advantage of a bespoke shoe is that it fits your feet properly. Unlike RTW shoes, you cannot easily gauge if it will fit your feet and you also cannot decide on the materials that you want for the shoe.
The DANT Difference
“The company name is derived from my name, Dan Torres. I made it DANT as it conveys simplicity and minimalism.”
“What’s different about my brand from others is that I personally design and make the pattern of the shoes. I can make the shoes from scratch to finish, all by myself,” said Dan.
I can’t see myself doing anything (besides shoe making). My existence is to really make shoes.
He added that he will continue doing what he loves, and sees himself doing this business long-term.
“I can see myself in 10 or 20 years, doing what I do right now. Even if I don’t profit as much, I will still continue shoe making.”
If you’re keen to check out their meticulous pairs of handmade shoes, check out their website here.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post