Instagram can allow beautiful exchanges. Étienne Brunel young entrepreneur and founder of the brand « Barre & Brunel Footwear » is the example.
A French nugget delocalized in Asia. I decided to write him instinctively in English even if I doubt that the answer will be in French. Very quickly, the exchange is translated by a call, then there we both understand that we have the same vision of things talking about shoes, Asia or even menswear.
Presentation in a few lines of Etienne Brunel
After doing graduate studies in finance. He takes off to Asia to work and experiment. But the passion of the handmade shoes is too strong, the stability and his daily life are not enough for him anymore. His free time he enters the majority behind the screen to obtain information on the shoes or drawing shoes there.
To be able to evolve in one sector while thinking of another is difficult, it is in my opinion the hard law of the entrepreneurship. He resigned then to devote himself totally to his passion. Forced to find that the Asian market is late on quality shoes. He says to himself that the place is to take. In fact, she is non-existent on her offer. However, we must not believe that everything is done in this way, he first undertakes a rewarding experience at Suitsupply then Loding.
He contacts including French retailer to import in China, but in vain. Not really a failure because it reinforces his choice, Barre and Brunel Footwear is born. After one year of research, the leathers come from France, the production is made in Spain in a company that works leather for nearly 100 years.
Intrigued by the alliance of Barre and Brunel, Etienne reveals to me that it is a beautiful mixture between the surname of his mother associated with that of his father. An association that makes him what he has become and his personality. A personality that we find today in his line of shoes.
Today is interesting to know the trend is that many of our consumer products are from Asia to be resold in Europe, while there is the opposite. You have to adapt to another culture or if you prefer another market. This is why the brand adapts and especially for footwear. We all have a different foot and a way to put it on too. For my part, I like having a shoe ready for the foot, to avoid some unsightly folds.
In Asia it will be very different, question of style but especially of comfort. We have the finest foot in Europe, in Hong Kong where Etienne is based, he is stronger. So, he has to adapt to a wider shoe shape by proposing a shape of width E, which corresponds to a half or a size more than for us Europeans. This is not necessarily good taste but it is so, you must know compound and this choice is part of it.
To tell you about her line, she is in my opinion the image of the market on which it is proposed. Now not completely because it still brings a French touch in a medium where Italy and England are stronger. And some Asian booties are really very beautiful references.
For Etienne, the idea is not to follow a fashion because he does not like it. But it’s more a question of crossing the generations.
To talk about his offer, he will be able to offer stock models on his line of classics, such as models with customization. Indeed, you can “customize” your soles with your initials, the monogram is the must to differentiate. Made by hand with brass nails. Or have a skate affixed directly with its built-in iron. A built-in iron will provide effective protection to the front of your shoes, which is a most delicate part about first use.
Photo Credit : @barrebrunetfootwear
All this for a moderate price. For my part, I fell for the Jenn model (photo report below) in “brown suede calf” not yet initials for my soles but the idea charm me. The shoes arrived within 10 days, after a small forced stop at our charming customs. My first return is positive, the box is thought like a scabbard and it changes. The shoes are delivered to me in their pouches, with cedar wood shoe trees. My first impression is really positive. To choose your size, no surprises, stay on your usual size.
The little extra that some confreres do not necessarily think of, a pair of spare laces with some tips to maintain your shoes. Especially if you choose a patina or a leather shoe.
By 2018, new partnerships should be for him and his brand in the Asian market. Étienne leaves two years to see but his desire to return to France is also present. Everything suggests that this article will not be the last.
This is a short presentation at a distance, as our world is changing and it shows us that it does not take much … just an email.
My model choice : “Jenn“
With Etienne, we are both on, the famous blog « the claymoorlist » a source of inspiration when we talk about shoes.