Passionate, knowledgeable, experienced and dynamic are just a few words that describe the very likeable, Stephan Krueckemeyer, Product Manager for Leathergoods at Cavallo. In this issue we talk to Stephan about his career and what makes him stay so positive about the industry.

Tell us about your background in the footwear industry?
I am the sixth generation of my family to work with shoes and just love the environment, freedom and creativity it allows me.
My grandfather actually made riding boots by hand and I was six-years-old when I took up riding and really became interested in horses and the fantastic animals they are.
Ever since I could walk I have always been interested in shoes and footwear and I spent many hours as a child in my family’s workshop watching the art and craft of leather being turned into shoes and boots.
When I started riding I was desperate to have my own boots and was very lucky when my grandfather agreed to make me a pair.
As I gained enough experienced I was also fortunate to get my own horse which I kept at my best friend’s farm. I stopped riding around my mid-twenties when work and family life took over but recently had a desire to spend more time around horses.
I turned to one of our fantastic Cavallo brand ambassadors, the legendary Ingrid Klimke who offered me the opportunity to take out her Olympic ride Abraxxus who is now 24-years-old.
I lead him out for walks at the weekend and just so enjoy spending time around horses once again.
It is also good to spend time on the yard surrounded by the team wearing Cavallo boots and getting their feedback on the range in a real life environment.

What is your role at Cavallo?

I am the Product Manager for Cavallo Leathergoods so am responsible for all the new product development and whole production of the boots which are actually made in three countries.
The bespoke boots are made in Germany and we also have factories in Romania and Portugal so there can be quite a bit of travelling involved.
There is plenty of variety involved with the role which I have now being doing for three years and I still love developing and designing new boots and thinking outside the box when it comes to styling and finishing touches.

How does a typical day look?
My days are always quite different. If I am in Germany I walk through the factory and catch up with the team before checking in with the others offices and production units.
Once that is done I will check and answer emails and then hopefully spend some time in the design and creative space which gives me time to think and come up with new ideas.
The smell of leather is just fantastic and always helps to give me inspiration when I am being creative.
I am always looking for new innovation and ways to test the boots but the equestrian footwear sector is very different from my days in fashion when we had to design seven collections for three countries.
There is also, I feel, a big responsibility when it comes to leather and the environment and wanting to do the very best we can by the material. Fortunately in designing leather boots today there is not the same level of urgency and we can into the equestrian market when we know the boots are perfect.

What makes Cavallo boots so special?

For me it is all about quality. The quality of the materials and the quality of the make is what makes then stand out.
We buy the leather from the best tanneries in Germany and France and constantly monitor the quality.
Cavallo boots have a very elegant last and this coupled with the craftsmanship in the team makes them outstanding.
With my background in fashion this also adds a touch of sparkle to make them eye-catching and much in demand.

Do you have a favourite model and why?
The Cambridge boot is my favourite. It is a classical field boot with a capped toe and brogue perforation in the front. The boot is all leather and Goodyear welted, it has been around for three years now but still remains and super stylish and elegant boot I am proud of.

How do you come up with the ideas for the bespoke tops?
At all times I try to picture the whole leg and then I begin to design and create the different styles for the tops.
The leg has to look god and fortunately today there is such a wide choice of materials which allows us to make the boots unique.

What is the best aspect about your job?
I most enjoy working with and collaborating with so many different people. We can share our passion and ideas for footwear and make the very best boots possible.
We have fantastic relationships with our many customers around the world and it is wonderful to live this journey with so many people.