Rated this past February as one of the best Airbnb Experiences in Spain, and TOP10 worldwide, what started as a hobby for Kathe (making traditional old-school stitched espadrilles on the cold mornings in Winter) ended up being one of the coolest must-do experiences for tourists and locals in Barcelona.
“I always liked the classic” Kathe tells me, while stitching black ribbons over a white canvas espadrilles (the very iconic Dali design). “I never thought visitors would like to spend 2 hours stitching on their vacations, did you?”
However it turns out, as the fully booked agenda shows, they do. They come in couples, solo-travelling or as a family activity with kids. It seems to be an experience that anyone can enjoy, at very different levels, from the educational point of view of a kid to the cultural and cool experience of making your own Catalan shoes as an adult. It is also an amazing option for those Instagram pictures and stories that will make all your friends jealous… it definitely worked for us.
Kathe and I are the founders and artisans of HANDMADE BARCELONA® an ethical brand of handmade traditional shoes from Cataluña. We have been many years making shoes on family-owned factories in Spain. Together with AirBnb and for more than a year now we have been hosting a very successful workshop where we teach how to stitch traditional Catalan espadrilles. This unique experience has brought us many nominations in 2019 as a must-do in Barcelona. Every morning at 9am tourists from all over queue at our doorstep. We love it, we open with a smile, with the two mandatory kisses of Spanish culture and with salsa music on the background.
After telling an interesting story about the origin of this type of shoes, we show how to stitch an espadrille to the guests and lead them on the task. Every customer is able to choose the color of the textile, the ribbons and the type of stitching. In total, there are more than 125 different options, so even the initial part choosing options is an experience by itself. At the end each of them keep its own creation, an authentic espadrille handmade by themselves on their trip to Cataluña, what a cool souvenir right? Ah, and then we also teach you how to lace them up, because it turns out that there are 5 different ways to do it, and each way means different things in Catalan culture, as if making the shoes and eating churros was not already fun enough! Are you in?
We are not only experts when it comes to espadrilles, but I believe we are also fun and entertaining with our anecdotes and stories, and we have hundreds of them, haha, after the more than 250 workshops we have made just in 2019. We are passionate and we know how to captivate you, not only by our stories, also with Kathe's designs, or even surprising you with churros in the middle of the session (favorite part of many customers, haha).
It has been a hit, even Japanese TV was last year making a special on our workshop, which was a highlight of our summer indeed.
If you are ever in Barcelona, do not hesitate to visit us in the emblematic Gothic Quarter, it might even be the highlight of your trip. We will try our best to make it so.
Otherwise, even from home is possible as we are now offering the virtual experience, in which you can get your pair stitched by Kathe and shipped to you for the same price, just 59,90Eur! Book it here or contact me for more information.