Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Visit to the Stephen Bonanno Sandal Factory

Oh what fun! I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Stephen Bonanno and his sister, Vivian, at their factory and was given a personal tour!
There is so much history behind the sandal. The family, the machines, the process. Did you know that Jacqueline Kennedy was really the key icon that helped make the Stephen Bonanno Sandal famous?  The Bonanno’s were cobblers during the 1960’s in Palm Beach, making normal shoe repairs and making sandals on the side for friends and by word of mouth. Mrs. Kennedy just happened to be in one day getting a pair of shoes repaired and saw the sandals. She requested a pair, and later had a picture taken of her wearing them.  Low and behold….a small family of cobblers became instantly famous, and their timeless sandals became a preppy “must-have” that are still highly desired today.

Here Stephen Bonanno is telling me about the history of the family and the sandal.  Take note of all the pictures and newspaper clippings behind me.  Really quite interesting.

Decades later, the same sandals are still hand crafted by hand by Bonanno family members and others who might as well be considered family as they have worked in the family business for decades.

(Two of Stephen's nieces working hard in the factory and loving every minute)

Stephen walked me through every process it takes in making the sandals, starting from the leather, to the lacing, to the gluing…..even the sheet metal stabilizer inside the insole is made by a member of the Bonanno family, who owns a sheet metal company.
Here Stephen and I are posing with one of the original machines used by his father “back in the day.” There are several of these older machines at the factory which are still in use. Benny was a lover of technology and had to have the newest cobbler machines of the time. (Notice I’m wearing my SB Sandals!)

The lacing of the sandal tops for a wedding in which the Bride and family will be wearing custom handmade SB Sandals.

Gluing the soles and inserting the tops of the sandals.
Adding the leather sandal top.

It was a great honor to meet Stephen Bonanno and hear all about the making of the sandal and the history of the family. Vivian and Stephen are such kind-hearted people with a great love of their family business and if you’re ever in their area, you must stop by to see them for your own personal tour. You won’t regret it!

Tomorrow – information that is tres improtante! You will not want to miss!

 
(Any factual information found herein has been validated and approved by Stephen Bonanno Sandals. However, any opinions are solely mine and NOT the opinion of SBS).
Happy Tuesday y’all!

 

17 comments:

  1. Wow! This is so cool to see! Thanks for the GREAT post!

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  2. I love that they have continued to keep it a family business. So interesting. Thank you!

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  3. How fun was that? What an experience. Not just meeting the Bonannos them selves, but learning about how the shoes are made and seeing firsthand.
    Is this something that anyone can do, or did you get somekind of special invite? I loved the little Jackie O mention, no one can wear ANYTHING better than Jackie.

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  4. What a cool experience! It means so much to know how things are made and who makes them. The sandals are made with love. You're a lucky lady! xoxo

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  5. That is really cool! I love that this is still very much a family business.

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  6. How fun!! I love Bonannos and the fact that they can be monogrammed! Did they mention what
    the difference is between these and Jack Rogers that look so similar?

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  7. La Bonbonniere! You read my blogs mind. Stay tuned as the entire week is devoted to SBS and yes, I will be posting the differences later this week! :-)

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  8. I'd ever heard of these sandals, where have I been?
    So neat that you got to see how they're made! Do I see a giveaway in the future??? Happy Tuesday!

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  9. I love learning all about SBS, how cool that you got a behind the scenes tour, you look adorable in the pictures!

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  10. that is just the coolest little tour i've ever seen!! so jealous!

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  11. Amazing to see how things are behind the scenes! I remember when i went to Lilly headquarters, i felt like i was looking in to the inner workings of the company! xoxoxo

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  12. That would be so cool to do!

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  13. Love this family company and that they are 100% made in the USA!

    Jo

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  14. Wow, lucky girl to get a personal tour! Thank you so much for sharing your adventure!

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  15. Love, love, love your tour! And all the info. I'm glad you had such a good time!

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  16. That is the coolest thing! I'm awaiting two pairs to arrive soon. :)

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  17. So Jack Rogers is a copy? keep the 411 coming!

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