The Heroine’s Journey of Olivia Monteforte

What is the best thing that I love about my work? It lets me explore my inner being and also express all the knowledge I have acquired by means of an everyday object that is also a work of art. I see that the custom-made shoes I create for every customer fully represent that specific individual, and are much lovelier when worn, because they can only really be appreciated on the person who completes them.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? There are difficulties to be faced every day, but when they are less important than the satisfaction one’s life gives, then I think this is
happiness – not perfect, but lasting.

What is my greatest fear? I don’t have any particular fears at present

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I’m very fussy over my work – sometimes I’m never satisfied, and although this means the results are very good, I take far too long
over things. I need to be more balanced from this point of view!

What is my greatest extravagance? I think that everything is possible and I never turn down a challenge; like my work, for example – I was just going to make a pair of shoes for myself, but I enjoyed it so much that I started overnight to plan a training process that took almost 10 years, and which now gives me a job I love. I don’t follow the beaten track, I branch out on my own, and I achieve my goal!

On what occasion would I lie? I very rarely lie and the few times I have done so they were white lies, which didn’t harm anyone.

What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life? I think I’m fairly unconventional but still hard-headed; I don’t think social conventions have much influence over me. I have my own clear vision and self-respect, and so far they’ve both done very well by me.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Making a mistake at the end of the production process which may even mean I have to start again from scratch. There are more than 200 steps in the making of a pair of shoes; the risk of mistakes is very high and they can’t all be corrected.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? When I consign a pair of shoes and the customer opens the wooden box, takes the shoes out of the bag and is thrilled by the care I’ve taken over packaging the product and because it’s exactly what they wanted. Then they put them on and I see my work completed.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’d like to be tidier!

What is my greatest achievement in work? Managing to organise training for myself which has enabled me to make my dream come true and become a craftswoman making customised hand-made shoes.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I take most of my inspiration from the people I meet, wherever they are!

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Masala, a restaurant serving ethnic food by the sea; I always eat very hot food with an elderflower juice, but unfortunately it’s only open in summer.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband’s a very strong, encouraging person, he supports me and is always able to be very objective, especially with constructive criticism. He’s my first sounding-board for every decision I have to take. Then there are my family and friends, including my creative director Danilo Mancini.

Whom would I like to work with in the future? In the immediate future with my brother, who is great with his hands and has wonderful artistic taste.

What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on? At the moment I’m restoring premises in a historic building which will become my workshop and showroom, reflecting my image and my craft. There, I intend to display various types of collections linked to the bespoke footwear world, but nothing ready-made! Everything will always have to be decided together with the customer.

How can you contact me? and I hope that my website will be ready in september. Until september, you can see my work in my Facebook page: Olivia Monteforte Bespoke Shoes.


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