Come behind the scenes and explore our family factory in El Salvador
MADE IN EL SALVADOR
Generation After Generation.
Our Co-founder, Cristina Palomo Nelson, was born into the world of shoemaking. She grew up in the factories with her father and grandfather taking paper and highlighters to sketch shoe ideas as she followed along. Her dream was to have her own line of shoes. FRĒDA began with the idea of producing shoes that blended style and function. Pound the pavement footwear that elevates your everyday. FRĒDA's first collection was made in El Salvador, so we are so proud and honored to be back home. See our timeline and learn about why our moccasins are so special below.
A Timeline of Family Heritage + FRĒDA
• In 1953, Cristina's grandfather set the grounds of the footwear industry in El Salvador, giving life to the dream of “fitting Salvadorans with shoes." He opened a shoemaking factory with the vision of providing protective and quality footwear to the local field workers as labor was the country's largest resource.
• In 1970, Cristina's father started a new factory that focuses on beautiful moccasins handsewn onto the shoe form (called a last), a construction that is rarely used today.
• In the summer of 2012, Cristina and Megan (FRĒDA) made our first collection of shoes at the factory in El Salvador. We were originally produced in Brazil, but our factory shut down for the Holidays and never reopened. Cristina's family factory opened its doors for us last minute and produced the most beautiful collection of shoes. We are forever grateful.
• In 2013, we moved our main production to Spain as our constructions at that time were best suited for their knowledge of the craft. Over the years, our family and production in Spain have grown, but we always dreamed of launching a category that would allow us to bring some production back home. Last winter, we started working in El Salvador again producing our first hand-sewn slipper, the JAMES (named after Cris' dad).
• This summer the FRĒDA hand-sewn moccasin collection arrived. We designed and produced two styles, the JUANA and TASH, and could not be happier about working with our family in El Salvador in a bigger way. You will continue to see more hand-sewn styles in our collection!
THE QUALITY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP OF HAND SEWN SHOE:
Although moccasins have evolved from soft leather bottoms to more durable constructions, our factory in El Salvador still practices the art of hand fitting the leather to a shoe form. Moccasin construction means the upper, quarters, and insole of the shoe are hand-stitched together on the last with one top vamp piece. Our shoemakers carefully tack the leather in place, then hand-stitch the leather with needles and waxed thread to create the moccasin upper. This process takes time and skill, resulting in a shoe that is highly comfortable and flexible. We are truly lucky to be able to work with artisans who have been practicing this for generations.
I would like to see the working conditions in your factory in El Salvador. Do you pay people fair wages and provide benefits?
So enjoyed reading this and as someone who enjoys Freda shoes, love that you are able to go back to the roots and share the craft with the world. Growing up in India, most of my shoes were custom made and know first hand, the fit of a hand sewn shoe.
I love reading about the history of any brand, but especially Freda! It’s great to feel a connection from the shoes to the roots of the brand. Thank you for sharing this part of Fredas story!
I love hearing the background on how Freda Salvador was created. It makes me happy to know that I have purchased (3 times so far) quality shoes from a quality company. Family businesses are the best !
A beautiful story, inspiring from the start. There is so much value in the learning of what happens behind the scenes. Many thanks.
As a Salvadoran I am truly honored by Cristina’s dedication and contributions to a proud national shoe legacy. Our country is home to skilled and capable artisans and Freda Salvador is taking their valuable work globally.