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Style, innovation & equality

”We aim to provide the best shoe shopping experience a man can have”

When being interviewed for a banker job at Morgan Stanley, Sebastian Öhrn realized that it was not for him. Instead he pursued his dream to start a shoe business, now extending their retail space, introducing their own MTO service added to their impressive lineup of Goodyear Welted shoes.

Words: Johan Magnusson

Growing up in Stockholm, Öhrn describes himself as that stereotypical entrepreneur kid with a lemonade stand, although in his case he was trying to sell his handmade candles and pastries. During his adolescence, he started to develop an interest in clothing and shoes, especially classical handcrafted products.

— The craftsmanship behind Goodyear Welted shoes caught my attention and I saved up weekly allowance to purchase my very first pair of Goodyear Welted shoes, A pair of double monk-straps from Crockett & Jones. They were super trendy at the time, at the cost of a small fortune for a high school kid, he remembers.

Shortly after finishing high school he moved to Great Britain for studies, where he was exposed to the aesthetics of conservative British preppy, and, of course, handcrafted shoes from Northamptonshire.

— Most of my friends there however, were more interested in becoming investment bankers in London and so I went along. During an interview at Morgan Stanley I was asked about my interests, and I started telling the interviewer about my passion for shoes and entrepreneurship. She listened carefully but then she asked me why I wanted to work in finance instead. I couldn’t come up with a compelling answer, and that’s when I realized I had to pursue my dream as a career, starting a shoe business.

He founded direct-to-consumer brand making high-quality footwear more available.

— There are plenty of great shoemakers out there but most of them are very expensive, thus limiting its reach. If you study the fundamental components that goes into to the making of a shoe, such as skilled labour and high quality leather, you realise that traditional shoe brands have a price tag that is very many times fold the production cost. This is because of unnecessary middlemen such as retailers who provide little or no value to the consumer in our new digital age. This is also simply why traditional fashion retailers that hasn’t already gone bust are struggling. By selling directly to our consumers we at Myrqvist can provide a great product and excellent service for a very competitive price.

The Swedish roots, he continues, puts a significant mark on the brand and its product.

— Not only do can you see a touch of Scandinavian minimalism in our deisgn, but we have also developed a fit and a range of soles for the harsh and wet climate of Sweden. As the first Swedish brand alive for Goodyear Welted shoes, we wanted to make shoes that were meant for customers in Sweden, something we thought our British and southern European peers neglected. As a tribute to this, we name all our shoes after Swedish towns that have some level of meaning to us. For example, our bestseller Äppelviken [outside of Stockholm] is a place very close to where I grew up.

We’ve seen a bunch of direct-to-consumer shoe brands, what stands out with you?

— Most of them don’t offer Goodyear welted construction and you can see the lack of attention to detail in the design as well. Our shoes are 100% handcrafted in Portugal, we source our leathers from the best tanneries in the world including Du Puy, and we don’t cut corners or compromise with quality. For example, our heel stiffeners are made from leather board which is more expensive than celastic that many others use. Most of our customers have no idea what a heel stiffener is but still we insist that they should only have the best. While others might claim the same, we are truly determined to deliver the best value for the money spent, says Öhrn.

The current range consists of multiple different types of Oxfords, Derbys, Boots, Monk-Straps and Loafers. One of the bestsellers, Granhult, is a wholecut Chelsea boot, which means the entire boot is made from a single piece of leather that is sown together in the back with a single seam.

— Its production requires skillful craftsmanship and as far as I am aware we are the only brand in the world which offers a goodyear welted wholecut Chelsea boot at this price point. More recently, we have relaunched our loafers on two new lasts and added a few colours. For example, Smögen Navy Suede is a Penny Loafer and our first shoe which is neither black nor brown, which I believe will be best seller for the summer.

A few weeks ago, the brand had a reopening at their extended store in Stockholm, including an extra room serving as the Myrqvist-To-Order (MTO) lounge.

— It’s our new premium service, allowing the customer to design his own pair of shoes with private consultation from us, guiding you through our vast array of our different suedes and leathers of different colours and nuances. The customer also has the option to choose from different types of soles, toe medallions, laces and more. As a final personal touch we let the customer emboss his initials on the sole of the shoe, says Öhrn.

— We aim to provide the best shoe shopping experience a man can have. Myrqvist’s retail is located at Grev Turegatan 16 in Stockholm.