Entrepreneur seeks to revive family’s ‘pasadya’ shoe business

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By KC Santos

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – Adam Santos is passionate about re-establishing the shoe business that his grandfather Don Juan Santos established 50 years ago.

The younger generation may not be too familiar with Glenmore Shoes but back in the day, it was considered one of the country’s premier makers of customized shoes or pasadya.

Don Juan Santos started the family business as a shoe repair man in the streets of Manila. From this humble beginning, he later on founded Glenmore Shoes and managed to branch out to 13 different locations in Metro Manila.

Everything was well and good for the business until the late 1990s when imported yet inexpensive shoes started flooding the market forcing Glenmore Shoes to close its branches.

The whole Santos family felt that 10 years was too long of a hiatus and that after a series of talks, agreed to revive Don Juan Santos’ customized shoe business legacy.

At the time, Adam felt that he had enough resources and faith in what his grandfather had started. In 2008, he decided to quit his job, prep up a revival website, and established a small retail store he called GLEN and SAINTS Leatherworks.

I’ve managed to see the business in a different, yet conservative perspective. Growing up to see the old craft in new times, made me believe that Filipino handicraft quality and construction should be preserved yet changed slightly,” he says.

Adam says he retained the original designs for the new line of shoes under GLEN and SAINTS Leatherworks. Glenmore Shoes was big in the 1960s for its signature Indie Moccasins, Brogues, Oxfords (also called Balmorals), Chelsea boots, and the “Beatle Boots” as popularized by the iconic British rock quartet and the Beatlemania of the 1950s.

“We do our simple ways to catch up with the cycle and slowly achieve better products and services in the traditional sense of production yet competitive in design, marketing and packaging,” he shares.

Adam says he is also pleased to see how customers appreciate the subtle, handcrafted pasadya shoes. “Consumers are now looking back to quality and individuality, which is a good for our business,” Adam says.

He adds that some customers still see pasadya shoes as luxurious and expensive items that are highly valued for the craftsmanship of artisans.

Adam says he has also streamlined his new handcrafted leatherworks business by adding straps, bags, and pocket accessories to his existing line of footwear. Prices range from P500 to P8,300.

He says it is good to note that the younger generation is starting to appreciate his shoes as a local brand.

“It would be just awesome if we could bridge the generation gaps of those yuppies and baby boomers then, to the younger generation,” he says. Despite challenges brought about by the mass production of imported goods, Adam remains persistent and determined.

“Yes the path looks hard but then again, nothing is really easy. We’re just really happy that we’ve managed to revive the family business,” he says.

(Photos courtesy of Adam Santos)

Get more information about GLEN and SAINTS Leatherworks

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