A small new brand founded by a young Italian/Spanish couple

Ask the great craftsmen and they’ll tell you that each and every creative act is above all an act of love. In the case of this all-new brand, founded less than a year ago in Camerino, in the province of Macerata, love played its part well before the first pair of shoes was made, as everything started with an almost chance encounter between two soulmates, Blai Biosca Voltes and Francesca Pennesi.

He’s Spanish, she’s from Italy’s Marche region, both are in their early thirties. They met in Macerata, where he had arrived for a European volunteering project.

Film production graduate Blai had only planned to stay for six months, but when he met Francesca – a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts who secretly dreamed of becoming a stylist – he realised that his lone traveller spirit had found a port of call.

Together, the two began exploring different routes. He discovered the world of footwear; she worked in the fashion world but wasn’t 100% happy. They decided to start studying again – Francesca jewellery in Milan, and Blai, at the Accademia Riaci in Florence.

And finally, the breakthrough, last year: a brand of their own, Quiin Shoes, with general headquarters in a small workshop in the centre of Camerino, where the couple strictly hand-makes both men’s and women’s shoes that are bursting with character, as well as creating made-to-measure items for their customers and a bracelet and ring collection.

The store/workshop opened on 1 October 2016, not many days before the two major earthquakes of 26 and 30 October, which devastated the area. On 1 November, Francesca and Blai wrote on their Facebook page: “We’re waiting to find out what’s to be done, since our city, our land has been torn apart even more after 30 October. But be it in Camerino or far away, we’ll gear ourselves up to rebuild and start again. When you fall, I always say you have to pick yourself up again, because life is a gift, my friends”.

Love, again. For life, for work, for themselves.

The workshop is still in its place, as is the brand, which also opened an e-commerce a few weeks ago, with customers from as far away as Japan.