Here at EL, we love local businesses and start-ups offering artisanal, handcrafted products. That’s why we’re excited about discovering W.h.y & Co, a relatively new Singaporean shoe brand known for their comfortable yet affordable leather shoes.
What we love
So, what sets W.h.y & Co apart from other brands? A chat with co-founder Wei Han reveals that the brand uses ethically-sourced calf leather from France in the shoes, as it’s softer and more durable. This particular leather also has a smoother grain pattern and a better finish compared to run-on-the-mill leather, which makes the painting process easier. The refined grain patterns of the calf leather allows the patina or hand-painting to pop. Each shoe is hand-painted and each pair takes at least 70 hours for skilled craftsmen to complete, so no two pairs are the same.
The devil’s in the details, when comparing between a good and a great pair of shoes. Wei Han explains that, many times, it’s down to the millimetre of the in-step rise or the width of the shoe that significantly affects the overall comfort and aesthetics. W.h.y & Co’s meticulous and tedious process of shoemaking produces a unique, comfortable and long-lasting end product that customers love.
A stickler for durability, the brand also believes that each pair of shoes should last for at least two years. That’s why in-house shoe care services are made available at the boutique, including resoling, polishing and cleaning. Read the reviews on the brand’s Facebook page and you’ll see the same key things repeated: service, craftsmanship and quality.
Behind the business
W.h.y & Co started when Wei Han was struggling to find a good and affordable pair of formal leather shoes for his wedding. He realised at the time that there was a gap in the market. Armed with zero knowledge about the complicated process of shoemaking, he learnt the ropes from his mentor and co-founder, who, together with his group of master shoemakers, have over 60 years of shoe-crafting experience under their belts.
In 2015, the W.h.y & Co website was launched. During the these initial stages, Wei Han had to juggle his full-time job in the shipping industry during the day with sorting out shoe orders by night. The brand was also involved in pop-up events and collaborations with other local start-ups, before their first brick-and-mortar store opened its doors at International Plaza in August 2018.
What’s in the works
Heads up, ladies: W.h.y & Co is rolling out an exclusive range of women’s brogues very soon! Featuring aniline leather (a special type of leather that’s naturally treated with soluble dyes) as well as a well-cushioned sole, these shoes promise to be soft and breathable.
Check out the full collection at whyandco.com
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