László Vass is the name when it comes to excellent quality handmade shoes from Hungary. He wrote the book on hand made shoes...literally - it can be purchased on Amazon. The master of the Hungarian shoe is well known amongst shoe aficionados for their exceptional shoes made entirely by hand in Budapest. Over the years, the company has been gaining greater traction online in Europe and the US.
The company that bears his name, Vass Shoes, is known for some of the best hand made shoes in Europe. Born in a family with a rich heritage of shoes, Mr. Vass started his company in 1978. Using the same tools that shoemakers have used for centuries, his goal is to deliver the highest quality handmade shoes. There are some that travel exclusively to Budapest to visit Vass shoes.
We recently had the chance to interview Mr. Vass. Mr. Rezso Kuti, the sales manager, assisted us with the interview, who aside from being a very kind man, is excellent at his job.
LC: How did you enter shoe making? And when did you start your own shop?
LV: My father has told me that I have good skills to make shoes. Since he was working in a shoe factory as an accountant he have had good eyes to this. At that time here was Socialism. So it was not possible to open own shops. When the system was started to “melting” then I took a chance and started the shop in 1978. It was not easy….
LC: As you grow your business do you have difficulty finding the same quality hides and leathers?
LV: Yes, indeed. We are always searching for the best materials, best leathers. We have a good reputation as well at our suppliers so we can buy the best available leathers from France, from Italy and from the USA. The quality is always very important. We are searching always to find the best available quality. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort. But it is worth it.
LC: How many artisans do you currently have at Vass?
LV: We do have some 6 very good shoe maker master currently, and a few of other shoemakers which are also very talented. The whole team is 20 person. From the cutter till the polishing.
LC: You recently released some new shoes. How do you decide which models and lasts to release?
LV: This answer is from me – Mr. Vass is very talented. He is a real artisan, a real artist. So he has a lot of imagination. So we are making each week one pair ready. Once they are ready, we always watching it for a long time and thinking about it, Would it be good? etc. Some of them never leave the workshopJ Some of them become very popular.
LC: How has the business grown over the past few years and how do wish it to grow in the future?
LV: Yes, we are getting bigger, but now, we have reached our limits and we won’t grow any more, we can sell this amount of shoes, it is not easy but we can manage it, also we won’t grow, we would like stay on this level and make the quality even better…
LC: Which other shoe makers do you admire?
LV: This answer is also from me [RK]: He likes very much the shoes of Edward Green. We have a good contact with a lot of shoemakers, worldwide, from Stockholm till USA. He likes some designs at Santoni, or at G&G.
LC: Where in the US and the UK can customers find your shoes?
LV: We are available in the USA, in New York, two shops and online as well, at No Man Walks Alone, and at Epaulet, in the UK, only online, we are working on this currently