Esther is a cultural anthropologist, creative entrepreneur and multitalented maker.
As the proud owner of the House of Arts & Crafts, located in the heart of Amsterdam, she has cultivated a vibrant center for artisans. What initially began as her own workshop, "Jouw Stoute Schoenen," in the iconic district of the Wallen in Amsterdam, rapidly evolved into a creative hub open to all. On May 18, 2008, the official opening of "Jouw Stoute Schoenen" on the Wallen marked the inception of Esther's business—a venture born in an unconventional workspace, just like her imaginative creations!
"After years in an office job, predominantly using my mind, it was time for a hands-on change. When I discovered the art of traditional shoemaking, I didn't hesitate for a moment. This was what I wanted to do. While searching for studio space, I stumbled upon a magnificent property—a golden opportunity."
After four years she started looking for a new location. Now we are almost ten years and many adventures further. Esther and her team share the large building at Oudeschans 21 -where they live, work and share- with a number of creative entrepreneurs.
Here, she has established an expertise center and an educational institute for designing and crafting shoes, bags, textile upcycling, and mosaic art. They seamlessly blend time-honored craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies, constantly exploring fresh technical possibilities and embracing exciting challenges.
Beyond guiding individuals in bringing their creative visions to life, they also craft samples for both major and boutique brands, fashioning unique, bespoke shoes and bags by hand in limited runs. Esther emphasizes, "Teaching others how to craft shoes or bags is almost as fulfilling as creating them myself. Witnessing people's amazement at what they can design and make on their own is a beautiful sight, and it brings me immense satisfaction."
We take immense pride in noting that Esther was one of the pioneering artisans to join Wecandoo in Amsterdam.