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  • The Petit Vagabond Boot: A Goodyear Welt Creation

    The Petit Vagabond Boot: A Goodyear Welt Creation

    The Petit Vagabond is full of surprises. Not only is it crafted from Cactus Leather, making it partially biodegradable and a great deal more sustainable than traditional leather boots, the Petit Vagabond style is a Goodyear Welted shoe, finishing it off as an item of heritage quality. 

    As you may know, a Goodyear Welt is a specific method of welting the uppers to a shoe. This is performed by a strip of leather that is sewn around the bottom edge of a shoe, attached to both the insole and the upper. The welt can then be easily unstitched, which thus detaches the sole without damaging the rest of the shoe, meaning it can be replaced time and time again as it is worn down. In our case, we use a strip of specialised rubber welt instead of the leather. This type of construction has many advantages: a Goodyear Welted shoe is flexible, comfortable, durable and often more breathable than the average shoe. In addition, the welt enables shoes to be repaired over and over again, allowing each child they are passed down to to build up the highly desirable patina of a well-worn shoe over the years.

    The Goodyear Welt method of craftsmanship dates back to 1869, when the machinery used to produce it was invented by Charles Goodyear Jr., and incorporates more than 200 steps, most of which are completed by hand, resulting in a pair of incredibly high quality shoes.

    There are several different techniques for making children’s shoes, consisting of the Stitchdown method, Cemented, Side Wall Stitched, Blake / Blake Rapid and the Goodyear Welt method, which is a far more superior method, but also much more timely. Compared to the Goodyear welt construction, the other mentioned methods are less expensive methods of sewing shoes together that are predominantly used in Italy. Blake, for example, simply has a leather sole and no cork which makes the soles thinner, more flexible but also less comfortable to stand on. Moreover, the soles are more prone to get wet with these less superior methods of construction. 

    The Goodyear Welt is a superior shoe construction method to Stitchdown, Cemented, Side Wall Stitched and Blake / Blake Rapid because it keeps your child’s feet much more dry and are ultimately more comfortable to walk in. On top of that, it can be repaired easily, whereas other construction techniques are much more difficult to repair and re-sole.

    Overall, this is a fascinating technique that has been around for approximately 150 years. Today, with so many other construction methods on the market, only higher quality shoes still carry this kind of quality construction, and this is generally reflected in the product price.

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  • Preparing for the New School Year

    Preparing for the New School Year

    Whether your child is starting school for the very first time, or returning to school after a wonderful summer vacay, let’s list out some of the things that can make this transition a little smoother. 

    Good Reads 

    During the summer, introduce some school-relatable books to keep the idea fresh in your child’s mind — and a great way to do that is to put relatable books on the bookshelf! These books about school adventures and antics make for a great read. 

    Peppa’s School Day

    Time for School, Little Blue Truck  

    I Believe I Can 

    Peachy and Keen #1: A School Tail

    Fuzzy Takes Charge (Class Pets #2)

    The King of Show-and-Tell

    Matilda

    Wayside School (Boxed Set)

    Books like these keep kids learning, and remind them that a time of friendship, laughter, and unexpected discoveries lies ahead in the fall. In doing so, they help get young learners eager to put on their boots, show an interest in and excitement about the classroom, and grow a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime.

    Routine 

    It’s also a great idea to get a school routine in motion, before the time comes to actually return to school. If your child hasn’t been attending Summer School, it’s a great idea to establish a similar routine to that of the school year about a month before school begins. Firstly, just start talking to your children about school. It can also consist of getting them into bed early enough so that they can wake in time for school hours. Getting their little bodies well-rested and ready for school hours will keep everyone in much higher spirits. Having morning-snack and lunch at the same time each day also gets them in the rhythm. Kids do well with routines, so establishing a school routine early is really important for a smooth transition.

    School gear 

    Let your child participate in choosing their new school gear. This will get them super excited about the upcoming year and the thought of getting to put their new gadgets and outfits to good use. There are LOADS of fun supplies and accessories out there, but with that being said, keep in mind what they actually need for kindergarten / preschool. 

    Your child’s school will most likely provide you with a list of items that your kiddo will need, so be sure to refer to that. Most schools also have lists of what not to bring - this is a really helpful tool.  It helps the teachers tremendously when those lists are adhered to.

    Here is a list of suggested items to get you started if your school doesn’t have a list, or you’re feeling uninspired.

    School Bag - having something personalised is a nice little touch, and what kiddo doesn’t love this! 

    Lunch Bag - these Fluf lunch bags are great for school lunches, and weekend picnics. 

    Lunch Box - there are so many bento boxes on the market, here’s a suggestion of 1 style that we like due to its superior non-leak feature. Bento boxes are a great way to get lots of different food types into young kiddos. 

    Water bottle 

    Sunscreen 

    An assortment of practical shoes that are weather friendly.

    • Warmer months - we feel strongly about always having our kids in closed-in shoes at school, these breathable and lightweight sneakers by Veja are a great option to keep your kids feet protected and cool. The velcro straps also make it easier for children who are learning to put their own shoes on. If you prefer sandals though, try this option that has a closed-toe.  
    • Fall - we love our Dominic & Dempsey boots for fall because as the cooler months approach, you’ll rest assured your children’s feet are warm and protected and if there are some rainy days in the forecast, they’re covered for indoor and outdoor play. 
    • Winter - we like to get a little festive in the winter months, and the Petit Vagabond boot in Red Earth fits the bill perfectly. A faux-lined sneaker for winter are also a great go-to. 
    • Spring / rainy months - Spring is renowned to be wet, nationwide, so having a pair of rain boots on hand is definitely a good idea. We like these ones. For dry days, a sneaker or boot works wonderfully. 

    Meet & Greet 

    This can be really important for some children! Even if your child’s been at the preschool for years, they’ll most likely have a new teacher and a new classroom each year. Try to attend any preschool orientation days that the school is offering. 

    Independent Young Learners 

    Young children really love to assert themselves as a way to show their independence, and while we would never expect them to do everything on their own, it’s really important to encourage this age-appropriate independence. Real-life jobs allow kids to learn to take care of themselves.  It also gives them a really great feeling of accomplishment. 

    Have your child help clean up after themselves after meals, pick their outfit for the day, dress themselves. While the goal isn’t to perfect a task, it will really encourage your child to work towards becoming more independent. 


    Fun - the most important of all! 

    All the research and preparedness in the world is great, but so is having fun as a family!  Keep up the special traditions that you and your family cherish. Reading together, having dinner together, taking a family walk together, visiting the park together — all of these things will keep you connected and having fun! 

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  • Introducing the Petit Vagabond Boot

    Introducing the Petit Vagabond Boot
    I’m Roxanne, the Founder of Dominic & Dempsey Co., and I thought I’d use this space to tell you how and why we got here. As a plant-based family, I’ve always tried to think of ways that I can do more for our planet and how I can give back. It’s difficult to change the world, but with my individual steps, I felt like I could make a small difference. 
    I’d bought my son leather shoes in the past, due to a lack of quality vegan products for children on the market, but there came a time where I wanted (and needed) to draw the line at introducing animal-based fashion into our home. After vigorously searching the web for cute, sustainable, and gentle footwear, I soon realised that there was a huge gap in the market. This is when I decided to create my own shoes for Dominic. We were living in New York City, and had recently spent some time between Paris and London in the Fall. This is where I gained inspiration from both men and women’s footwear that I would notice while we were strolling the city streets. My style has always been very minimalist, and I seem to carry this across in the way I dress Dominic also. I envisioned a boot that was basic, classic and timeless; something that could be worn with any outfit, in any location, by any gender, and throughout the entire year. 
    The first step I really needed to perfect was finding the right material. There are many polyurethane products around, but I wanted to steer clear of this product because firstly, not all PU is vegan; much contains leftover genuine leather. They also look quite fake and aren’t as breathable or long-lasting as regular leather. They can smell of chemicals or plastic, and even though they use fewer resources to make, they are ultimately a plastic and don’t decompose, making them less eco-friendly. 
    I obtained many swatches from different companies who are creating leather-alternatives, such as the pineapple leather, mushroom leather and the cactus leather, to name a few, but our favourite by far was the cactus leather by Desserto. It was the closest resemblance to leather, which is what I ultimately wanted to achieve. Alongside appearing the most genuine, cactus leather also stood out for its low environmental impact, softness, and resilience. The cactus leather is 100% USDA certified organic, and the crops are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides. The cactus plantation is cultivated solely with rainwater. Additionally, cactus naturally regenerates soil and it’s a naturally occurring ‘carbon sink’, which together helps to preserve the local biodiversity, making it a much more sustainable alternative. All of these factors were incredibly important to me, so we decided to focus all of our collections around cactus leather. This isn’t to say we won’t use other leather-alternatives and materials in the future, but for now we are really happy with the results we are getting from the cactus. 
    We played around with different features on the boots, from eyelet colours to laces to sole material and thickness - some looks were too feminine and chic and some appeared too rough, but we finally came up with a finished product that suited Dominic perfectly.
    It resembled an adult style boot that was elegant, versatile and unisex - this is when the Petit Vagabond was born. This name seemed very fitting for how the boot came about. Dominic tested the boot for several months before we commenced a production order. Every time he wore the boots, several parents would comment on them and ask where they were from; it was this feedback that proved to me we had created a beautiful, desirable product, and I couldn’t wait to share them with the world. 
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