Julie Carnis, a loving sister and one of the founders of Patt'touch, shares her inspiration and reveals secrets about making truly perfect shoes for babies, as well as entering the market with a new brand.
Along with her sister, Julie created a family business making shoes for babies and kids, sharing the 15 years of knowhow of their parents. Julie has a sense of style and deeply cares for the comfort of our little ones, focusing on the best quality and ethically producing all her products.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to found your own brand along with your sister Olivia?
Patt'touch is a family story and even more a family passion.
Our mother is an artistic creator with a passion for shoes and kid’s fashion. After working for famous designers, she and my father created an atelier in the South of France, next to Bordeaux, where they design and handcraft each and every baby shoe. This was more than 15 years ago. Hence, with my sister, Olivia, we have been immersed in the baby fashion world since our tender age. Over the years, our parents developed and acquired a unique expertise and know-how in the design and handcrafting of baby shoes (new born up to 18 months), collaborating with the finest brands in the world.
In 2016, we realized that this fabulous know-how might disappear with our parents. Very naturally, it became apparent that we should preserve and build upon this family heritage by creating our own brand, Patt’touch.
The trigger also came from my sister. She was expecting her first daughter and she felt the need to do something with a strong meaning for her and that she could eventually pass down to her daughter.
We decided to pursue our dream and follow in our family’s footsteps.
When was Patt’touch born?
In 2018, we launched our first line of shoes for Kids (12-24 months).
In addition to perpetuating a unique Made in France "savoir-faire" (meaning "knowhow" in french) , we wanted to offer young parents a collection that they would recognize from their own childhood. We worked on the classic French shapes such as the Derby or Salome, but revisited with a modern and creative touch. We felt we could not find this subtle mix on the market. As a young mum, we believe that the baby shoes must combine exceptional comfort, timelessness through the vintage style and just enough touch of creativity.
To sum up, our collections of baby (from new born up to 18 months) and kids’ shoes (from 12 months up to 2 years) are quintessentially French: chic, creative and timeless, and a subtle blend of tradition and modernity. We revived Iconic lines with a modern twist and a surprising combination of design, colors and print to unveil an elegant and unique collection.
We know it is hard for parents to find the perfect 1st shoes for their newborn baby, what makes Patt’touch different?
It draws on our family "savoir-faire" of more than 15 years. Our parents invested a lot of time and effort working on the design of the shape of the baby shoes, collaborating with the best experts in this area from the pattern maker to the cutter and leather suppliers. They developed a tradition for precise fitting and a careful attention to details. Hence, Patt’touch lines are carefully designed to respect the shape of the infant’s feet, allowing for their proper development and ensuring a perfect fit. Couture designs are handled and sewn by expert hands to ensure every single item is made to the highest possible professional standard.
The lines are created from noble materials. Only the finest leathers are used, selected from the best European tanners for their exceptional quality, delicacy and ultra-softness to guarantee exceptional comfort and a barefoot feeling. Naturally breathable, the leather insole and lining helps feet stay warm in winter and cool and dry in summer.
Our priority is to offer flexible and non-constricting shoes to promote good balance and unrestricted growth while providing protection. Each line is crafted with babies and kids in mind. I remember our parents testing the shoes, on us. They were observing how we were walking, evolving with them, if they were easy to put on and to put off. Our kids are also wearing them every day!
As most people from our generation, we care about our impact on the environment. Manufacturing our shoes in France is the insurance to control the entire production flow, to control and reduce our impact. Amongst other actions, we use non-toxic dyes and water-based glues, and we use fabrics and materials upcycled, an eco-friendly technique of production!
Can you explain “the stitch and return“ technique?
Each baby shoe is designed and manufactured according to the “stitch and return”.
The sole is stitched inside out and returned, preserving the softness of the leather and offering an incomparable comfort to the babies' foot. A technique developed and enhanced in our family for more than 15 years.
The French craftsmanship seems very important for you, why?
The French craftsmanship is indeed very important for us. We think that it is very important and a privilege to be able to perpetuate a fabulous French and family savoir-faire acquired and transmitted by the previous generation. We have the chance to collaborate with the finest artisans and tanners. This is the guarantee to offer highly qualitative product, carefully handcrafted by the best craftsman with a perfect control at each step of the production process. Beyond that this is really the DNA of a country that we are proud to share, throughout France and abroad!
We were looking for a name embracing multiple feelings and ideas. This is mainly a combination of two things the “Patt’” referring to the baby’s feet and the “touch” for the first time the little one will start to walk and touch the earth by himself. This is also referring to our creativity, “touch of creativity”, “our touch”. Finally, we were looking for a name that could be understand in French and in English.
What things have you learnt/discovered about launching your own brand?
We have met a unique and exceptional community of creators such as Louise Misha with whom we collaborated for a capsule this winter and Petite Lucette, two awesome sisters creating fabulous baby clothes amongst many others!
The relationship with our clients and customers who trust us, support us and encourage us is hugely gratifying. But also the wonderful recognition of the French savoir-faire abroad that we would like to continue to perpetuate.
The pleasure to create and share. The pleasure to offer high quality products to parents and kids! But also hard work, hard work, hard work!
Working with our family. There’s something unique about the trust you have with family members which enables you to speak freely and have productive debates.
What 3 words would you use to describe Patt’touch?
Vintage and elegant collections with just enough touch of creativity and French inspiration and of course a family passion!
What are your inspirations?
We love the vintage and retro shapes such as the Salome, Richelieu or Derby. We revisit them playing with the leathers, colors and shape to unveil unique, original and easy to wear kids and baby shoes! For example, our Derby Daphne is declined either in very simple and classic Marine Blue or Cognac or twisted through a mix of fabrics and colors. Same for our Boots Mahe. We revisited the line and shape to offer an avant-gardiste boots made in beautiful Silver leather!
Also we enjoy going beyond the lines and offer unexpected lines such as the Sneaker Baby shoes and the Derby kids shoes with printed Street Art leather. We collaborated with an artisan in Bordeaux to realize those prints. We found our inspiration in Manhattan where I lived for 3 years.
We also offer personalized baby shoes with the name of the baby engraved as a unique souvenir of the first days of the babies!
What is your mantra?
Not an easy question!
It depends on the days but it could be summarize as «La vie est un défi à relever, un bonheur à mériter, une aventure à tenter. » (meaning: "Life is a challenge to accept, a happiness to be deserved, an adventure to take.")
What are your plans for the future?
We have so many ideas that sometimes we don’t know where to start.
We would like to pursue the development of our Kids shoes line starting from the size 19 up to 23. In 2018, we launched our kid’ shoes line to offer a continuity in our products from birth to the first steps. We now have 4 shapes (Derby, Boots, Salome and Babies) declined in 16 colors, and in various leathers.
We would like to add new line, new style and expand up to 7 years.
In parallel, we continue our development abroad. We are very happy to see that the French know-how is highly appreciated abroad. We are now starting our development in China, in Japan amongst others.
Finally, we will unveil a collaboration with a French designer we love…you will be able to discover it in avant-premiere at Playtime Paris!