17 Years In The Making

brush-and-shoeWelcome to A Shine and Co. Online! We are excited to announce the launch of our updated website and to bring you our new online store and official blog.

What began in 1996 as three guys, one girl, and one portable shoeshine chair, has since grown to include four permanent locations over two coasts, four business partners, twenty artisan shiners, a thriving repair service, a national special events division, and now our latest foray into the world of online retail.

Tomorrow morning, I begin training a new shiner to work in our shops. If he’s anything like others who have come before him, he’ll be expecting the training to be easy. He’ll be imagining himself shining away like a pro by the end of the day. Yes, he heard me say that it takes a couple of weeks to learn the fundamentals and a further 6-12 months under the watchful eyes of experienced shiners to become “good” at it, but in his own mind he knows he’ll be as good as a shoeshiner can possibly be by, say, day three (adding the third day just to generously hedge his bet).

I won’t hold it against him – this presumed overconfidence. The need to be good at things is a large part of what makes a shoeshiner really good. I thought these same things when I first started shining. In reality, eight years and tens of thousands of shoeshines later, I am still learning my craft. So, I’ve been thinking all day about the hundreds of details and bits of knowledge that are so important to me to impart to my new trainee. I’ve been imagining the frustrated look on his face (I see it every time) when we don’t so much as touch a pair of shoes for the first few hours, as I begin the painstaking process of summarizing our collective experience, gleaned one shine at a time over the last 17 years.

In this same way, I have been pondering how to welcome potential readers into the world of A Shine and Co ‘Online,’ and I’ve realized that the hope for this blog is to bring you, dear reader, that very same 17 years. Welcome to 17 years of shoe and leather care experience and knowledge. Welcome to 17 years of learning, experimenting, making mistakes, and thusly improving. Welcome to 17 years of personal and professional growth, of laughing together, of sharing, of working out our troubles, and bringing the joy of what we do to our esteemed clientele. Welcome to 17 years of always being surprised and renewed by the sheer specialness of how our business continues to evolve. The hope is that whether you read this blog for tips and tricks of the trade, visit one of our shops for personal service, book us for a special event, or buy a product from us online, you will experience this 17 years of caring about what we do, about each other, and about YOU! Welcome, we hope to see you soon!