Changes in Handsewing to Meet Customer Demand
Over the past 55 years, three generations of the Rancourt family have produced genuine hand-sewn moccasins in Maine, recognized worldwide as uniquely American. We take pride in sourcing the finest materials from across the world and combining them to create our signature handmade footwear. We purchase outsoles from France and Brazil, leather from England and Germany, and hardware from Italy, just to name a few.
Demand for our hand-sewn products is at an all-time high and we are actively recruiting and training new hand-sewers to join our shoemaking team in Lewiston, Maine. Training these skilled craftspeople takes years, but we are beginning that process with three new sewers-in-training.
Our current team of six hand-sewers has close to 200 years of combined experience. One individual has been hand-sewing for four decades; two others have fifty years of experience combined. Their shoemaking knowledge is unmatched and we greatly value their commitment to Rancourt. They are the heart and soul of our operation.
However, with demand increasing for our hand-sewn moccasins, we’ve sought out other resources to meet customer expectations and maintain the quality of our handmade footwear.
We have selected three hand-sewers in the Dominican Republic to provide support to our growing team in Lewiston. These skilled shoemakers will produce a small percentage of our labor component and the hand-sewn shoes will be brought back to Lewiston to be finished. All other steps in the shoemaking process, including cutting and stitching will continue in our Lewiston, Maine factory. Only the hand-sewing component of some of our shoes will take place in the Dominican Republic. In total, less than 5% of our total labor component will be produced by hand-sewers in the DR.
All Rancourt handsewn moccasin shoes will be go through the exact same process of cutting, prefit, and stitching in our Lewiston, Maine factory. At that time some of the uppers will be sent to our partner in the Dominican Republic to perform the hand-sewing portion of the shoemaking process. We've set-up these skilled shoemakers with the exact same equipment, tools, knowledge, and quality control that we use in Maine. When the hand-sewing is complete, the uppers are transported back to Maine for re-lasting, bottoming (stitching soles to uppers), finishing, and packing.
We are confident that the high quality you've come to expect from us will not change. Also, it should be noted that there are no cost savings in outsourcing this small labor component to our partner in the DR, this decision was made solely in order to meet demand and our customers expectations.
The Dominican Republic has a reputation for impeccable craftsmanship with dedicated hand-sewers. Many American handmade shoe companies began collaborative partnerships with the Dominican Republic in the 1960’s and those partnerships continue today.
We are committed to sourcing the highest quality materials available and preserving the Maine shoemaking tradition. Our hand-sewers and entire Maine-based team continue to produce the finest shoes in the world for our loyal Rancourt & Co. customers.