Zoom2u helps artisan cobbler Baxter & Black ensure that its wares are transported with the same level of love and care that they bring to traditional shoemaking and repair.
Housed in a beautiful blue heritage-listed shop front in Sydney’s buzzing Newtown district, Baxter & Black is celebrating its first birthday, but its genesis has been in the making much longer.
Success driven by a dream
Formerly a scientist and lab technician, aspiring craftsman Nathan Baxter longed to work with his hands. Strolling down the street one day, he noticed an old Italian cobbler. It was a lightbulb moment that saw him find his true calling. He embarked on a mission to learn all that he could about traditional shoe repair, working – at first for free – with some of Australia and the world’s best shoemakers and shoe repairers.
“He had such an absolute passion for it, that for his 40th birthday I said, ‘Who do you want to meet? Anyone in the world? I thought he’d choose Vivienne Westwood but instead he chose CarréDucker, his favourite shoemaker,” explains Baxter’s wife and business partner Rachel Black.
A Creative Director of her own graphic design business, comes from a fashion magazine background. At the time she was working for vogue.com.au, so she emailed CarréDucker and arranged for Nathan to spend some time apprenticing with the London-based bespoke shoemakers.
“They have a big warehouse named Cockpit Arts in London and all of the weirdest and most wonderful creative people work there,” says Black. Working alongside these talented milliners, artists and craftspeople, Baxter honed his skills, coming back to Sydney brimming with inspiration and newfound knowledge.
Today, the couple run Baxter & Black together, with Black handling the business side of things while Baxter is the craftsman, training up other cobblers to work alongside him. Most things are done by hand and, as a former scientist, Baxter even makes some of his own materials when needed, such as shoemaking wax.
“With shoe repair, I saw such a hole in the market,” says Black. “Everything else has got cool stuff – barbers, cafes. We wanted a shoe repair place that was a real experience. People will drive for three hours to come in; they want to smell the leather and the glues.”
“We make things to last. What might take another repairer five minutes will take us much longer, as we won’t just put on a cheap patch but will repair it properly, using traditional techniques.”
Sourcing the best materials
Such a high-end service relies on using the best makers and materials from around Sydney and even the world, which is where Zoom2u comes in, helping Baxter & Black transport its supplies and shoes safety.
“We use a range of makers, such as someone who specialises in just stitching leather. So, we’ll be moving shoes around to different makers or finding parts we need,” says Black.
“If it’s a Louboutin shoe, which we do a lot of, otherwise I’m the one driving around finding that shot pink silk. If we can send a courier, it’s a lot cheaper than sending a creative director!”
“We went with Zoom2u because their Google reviews were so high – double the others – and it’s really important our shoes are looked after properly. I also like that they’ve come into the market with a different viewpoint and are a new business like us.”
“For me it’s peace of mind – knowing that if it’s Zoom2u picking it up we don’t have to worry. I just wouldn’t use another courier company. We wouldn’t risk someone’s shoes,” says Black.
A specialist shoe concierge service
The other reason for getting Zoom2u on board early was that Baxter & Black always wanted to offer a shoe repair concierge service via their website once they had enough staff trained up to meet demand.
Customers will soon be able to book pick-ups and drop offs via baxterandblack.com, thanks to Zoom2u’s integrated system.
“It’s our reputation, so we need to make sure nothing gets lost and it’s handled nicely. I recommend Zoom2u all the time. I think most of my friends are using them now,” says Black.
“Our clients care most about their shoes being safe and saving time. Zoom2u has been excellent — it’s all about the quality of the service.”
Much like Baxter & Black.