January 9, 2015 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
RK: 37, sales manager at Vass Shoes.
VR: Your educational background?
RK: I finished school as sales manager, but did my postgraduate as winemaker/sommelier (don’t laugh, I love wines and oenology).
At the Lineapelle fair in Bologna, 2013
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your shoe enthusiasm)?
RK: I’m married with 3 children, 2 boys and a little girl. She likes my shoes. Daddy’s big shoes.
VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
RK: My parents were merchants. I’ve been always in the shop, and back then they ran some book shops. I’ve read a lot and loved to sell anything so far. But when I’ve seen some well-dressed gents or women I’ve always felt something; that I have a passion for shoes, and clothing.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides the world of shoes?
RK: I am collecting books and wines. I love traveling, too.
VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
RK When I began high school, I saw a lot of well-dressed guys, of course, they were very fashionable. But I thought I would like to wear more some valuable clothing. I asked my father where he’s buying his shirts, etc. I started so. Then we traveled a lot to Austria, Italy, and on these trips I saw what I had been looking for…that was the beginning.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the shoe trade — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
RK: Yes, I read a lot, at first only books, magazines. I have also visited some workshops. Since I’m working at Vass, I have a kind of “joker card” as I am the sales manager, so I can get “easily” into workshops. Also, here in Budapest, I have met a few people who are working for some big brands. I’ve learned from them as well. I’ve learned trading in a business school, and also a lot from my father.
VR: Please describe how you joined the Vass team and what goals you set for yourself in the beginning. How have you been received so far?
RK: It is a funny story. I was previously working always at the big companies as a sales manager. In the printing industry, in the wine industry. Then, in 2007, I met Mr. Vass. We talked for 30 minutes. About things, about life. After 30 minutes we both knew that we need to work together. He asked me if I would like to join the Vass team…I said yes.
VR: Do you have a favorite shoe model (eg. monk, balmoral, oxford, Budapester) and leather type?
RK: My favorite one is the Budapest derby on F-last and the Old English 2 on the F-last.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
RK: No question about it, it’s Mr. Vass! On 2nd place are the guys at G&G. It is also a great thing to be like an “engine” of sales at Vass. That gives me a lot of energy day by day.
VR: What’s your definition of a good shoe?
RK: This is a hard question. The answer is not an exact thing. For me, it’s the shoe that I’ve just sold and has been paid! Just a joke! A good shoe should show the quality and should fit well. There are a lot of great shoes. In any range.
VR: The most recent new products from your company were quality bags and briefcases. Do you have other new goods in the works for next year?
RK: No, that’s it. We won’t expand but we would like to make even better shoes.
VR: Finally, why should Keikari’s readers try Vass shoes?
RK: They should definitely try our shoes. Once they do, they will understand why. If you wear them you will understand.
Photos: Vass Shoes