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Forde passionate about Shoe Repair and Leather Craft

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

If you frequent the Glebe Public Market in St. George, then it is likely that you have met Fay Forde who is the owner of F& J Shoe Repair and Leather Craft and has been operating in the Glebe Public Market for almost a decade.

(Image of Fay Forde who is the owner of F& J Shoe Repair and Leather Craft)

Forde said that she learned the art of leather crafts after being sent by her school to then Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) where she initially sought to learn dressmaking. But as fate would have it, Forde decided to pursue shoe repair and leathercraft after her dress-making teacher took ill.

“I had the opportunity to go and learn a skill from school. We were sent to the then Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic two days a week. I took that opportunity and went to SJPP to learn a trade. At first, we did dressmaking but then the teacher got ill, so we had to find another skill to do so I chose shoe repair and leathercraft which was taught by Mr. Eric Watson. He encouraged me and after a while, he said I was his best student. I was taught how to make leather bags, belts, and slippers as well as, how to repair shoes and suitcases. All of these things were taught at the SJPP at that time,” she said.

Reflecting on her journey as a self-employed leather craftsman for the past fifteen years, she said she never thought that she would start a business using the skills she learned years ago.

“I fell in love with the leathercraft as it was something fun and interesting, how you could take a raw piece of leather and make something beautiful out of it. I loved it. I would not have thought that I would have my own business doing the same thing leathercraft and shoe repair,” she said.

When asked if any of her work has won any national awards, Forde said that her work has not won any national awards but the passion she has for creating her work is the greatest award she has ever received.

(Fay Forde is the proud owner of F& J Shoe Repair and Leather Craft)

“I am not about awards because my work is a passion for me and that is my reward. I like seeing the excitement on person's face when I make something or seeing their face when I repair their shoes, that is my reward,” she said.

(A pair of leather shoes designed by Fay Forde)

The owner of F& J shoe repair and leathercraft said that she currently offers a wide range of services as she has been able to manipulate leather to meet a wide demand.

“I do a wide range of products. I do repairs, small upholstery along with my leather crafts as I make belts, slippers, bags. Whatever I can make out of leather if someone comes to me and ask and I can do it, I do it to the best of my ability,” she said.

(Two belts made by Fay Forde)

Forde said that while COVID-19 has been challenging on her business, she has made the most of it by creating her own labels and business cards. But told the media that one of the ways she has remained relevant despite the onset of the global pandemic was to use technology.

“I am on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp so more persons can get to see my work. Persons have also been adding me to small business chats. I have also been trying other things as COVID-19 has opened my eyes to try other things like small upholstery,” she said.

(A pair of leather shoes designed by Fay Forde)

Forde advises anyone who is without a job due to the onset of COVID-19 to learn a skill.

“ I want to say to young people or even if you are not young, but you are out of a job and not working- learn a skill. Tap into what you know you can do and make it work for you as jobs are not guaranteed these days and we all have to rely on what we are good at and make it work for us. Working for yourself can be hard but it can be fun as you are working for yourself and earning your own finances. Even if you are employed it is something that you can do to earn additional income. If you are good at something, make it work for you, and the people that are your customers will help you to build yourself and your business.,” she said. Interested persons can contact her at +1246 263-8392. (Write Right PR Services)

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