Meeting Isobel of Bryr Studio
I’m unabashedly enamored with clogs and am growing quite the collection in my closet, so when Isobel of Bryr Studio reached out asking if I’d be interested in visiting her studio for a fun project together, I couldn’t say “Yes!” and “Huzzah!” fast enough.
Isobel’s studio in Cole Valley is absolutely wonderful and she creates brilliant designs – you can immediately tell that these are no ordinary clogs. I can attest to their comfort, lightness, and all-around perfection. I hope you enjoy this brief interview and get inspired to don some clogs of your own!
How did you come to create Bryr Studio?
I worked in the fashion industry for over 18 years as a women’s knitwear designer, before deciding to take a ‘creative sabbatical’. As part of my creative break, I chose to follow one of my life-long dreams; to learn how to make shoes. One thing lead to another, and before I knew it, I was launching my own clog line.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I try to be in studio for the part of the day that is most creative for me, the morning. But first, I have to have a very big cup of coffee. Depending where I’m at with the production process, I’ll be cutting leather, lasting clogs, or packing up clogs to go out into the world. But as a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, so the rest of my day is spent doing anything from emailing with customers to sourcing new buckles, to designing the next clog.
Where do get inspiration for your clog designs?
I’m inspired by the materials I work with. I’m very lucky to have several incredible leather manufacturers close by in Northern California, so my process starts with me walking their factory floor, feeling hides and searching out something interesting (and sometimes climbing ladders and reaching over piles of leather). I have my base leathers that I always use for the collection, but I like to pick up one or two hides on each trip to make something special and limited edition. This process keeps me engaged and open.
An idea for a new clog can be kicking around in my head for weeks or sometimes months. I’ll do little chicken scratch drawings, and put them up on my wall. It takes a while for the idea to ‘bake’ and it’s not a fast process. I’ll make a prototype, wear it out for a few days and think about it some more. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, somehow it becomes very simple and just right, and that’s when I know I’ve found something I want to share.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love the fact that I’m building something real in the world that I truly believe in, that I get to work with my hands every day, and all the amazing people I’ve met along the way because of following my dream.
Thanks so much for letting me visit your studio, Isobel! And I can’t wait to announce another exciting collaboration we will be working on together in the future. Until then, clog on!