Q&A with Veras Shoes

We caught up with Neil from Veras Shoes for our latest chat, talking about his latest project, Gurus Room Shoes and his Google Search History! It’s a funny one this one, enjoy…

Afternoon Neil, how are you?

All good thanks. Trying to motivate myself to go for a run. I already know I won’t go and I’ll spend my day drinking tea and eating biscuits…

For those who may not know, could you give us the background to Veras?

Basically, I produce footwear for people. Private branding and also collaborations. We are currently doing some nice stuff with Pretty Green, seems to be going down well. Got some nice new styles arriving in March too.

What inspired you to start the brand?

I wasn’t really doing much else and I only have ever worked for myself. I’ve been involved in clothing & shoes since late 96. Me and my mate had a shop in Port Talbot ’96 and then moved to Cardiff where we traded for 10 years (many years ago). Great times to be honest. So to tell you the truth, I don’t really know much else.

What’s the product you’re most proud of to date and why?

The collabs we’ve done in the past, the cord shoes with Casual Connoisseur, the leather boat shoes with 6876, the lace up espadrilles for Oi Polloi and some of the latest stuff we’ve done for Pretty Green.

You’re also the man behind Gurus – can you tell us more about it?

Basically, because of lockdown we made some ‘lockdown slippers’ or ‘room shoes’ as I prefer to call them. End, Hip, Hanon sell them so we’ve got some good stockists in our first season. Got some nice new styles for AW22 also!

What made you want to branch out?

Having a lot of time on my hands, a few opportunities to do it. Basically, the timing was right..

What interests do you have outside of the two labels?

I play football twice a week, obsessed with it. Still shit though. Also, I think of having a hair transplant on a daily basis. I think it’s called a midlife crisis. If you look at my google search you will see, ‘hair transplant turkey’ ‘hair transplant side effects’ ‘do clip on pony tails look realistic’ ‘can you die eating gone off tuna’ ‘penis extension turkey’ My wife also uses my computer…

Who are your favourite designers and why?

Ralph, 6876, 90s Duffer. I still wear the same stuff I was wearing 20 years ago, albeit with a bit of Uniqlo. Present day brands I like Nanamica, Anatomica and Rocky Mountain Featherbed do some nice stuff.

What advice can you give to anyone wanting to channel their creativity but unsure where to start?

Just start something and see where it goes, hardest bit is starting, once you’re up and running it can sometimes get easier. Don’t get into debt. I think now with social media its easier than ever to start something up, you do not need much money, just do it. I think the hardest bit is starting it, you need a bit of luck too…

What life lessons have you learnt from running the brand?

You have ups and downs, this will be my 25th year ‘in business’ sometimes you’re doing well and other times it can be hard work. Also, you meet some lovely people.

What else inspires your releases?

I’m not sure how to answer this… I could give you an answer that some brands would give but it would be untrue. I’m trying to make enough money to spend my later years on a little Greek Island, sipping retsina and eating gyros.

Finally, can you summarise Veras, and Gurus, in only 3 words?

Value for money

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