Have you ever run across a merchant artisan or vendor that you wish you could share with the world?
No, this is not a paid advertisement; we’ve not been compensated in any way for this post. We’ve just found a gem, and are so impressed that we want to share it with you.
Every artisan has a story and at the Austinot we love to hear these stories. Recently, we met up with Arik Helman at the Sherwood Forest Faire and asked him to share his story with us.
Arik is one of the driving forces behind Son of Sandlar, perhaps the finest provider of Renaissance boots for Renaissance faires and Live Action Role Play (LARP) events in the country, and quite possibly the world.
How can we make such a bold claim? The Helman family has been perfecting the craft of cobbling since long before anyone reading this post was around. They’ve been in the cobbler business for six generations.
How do craftsmen keep a legacy like this alive? Three words: Quality, consistency, and service
Son of Sandlar is famous for their boots, which are primarily the work of Arik’s father, Simon, and carry a lifetime guarantee. They have 18 different styles of boots to choose from, which range in price from $170 to the mid-$800’s.
But the offerings of this incredible team don’t stop there. In addition to Renaissance boots, Son of Sandlar also has some of the finest leather garb available…and the visionary behind this aspect of the business is none other than my tour guide, Arik Helman.
Take a look at their store…don’t see what you envision? Don’t worry, Son of Sandlar can create pretty much anything you can imagine…from just an idea or a photo.
Headed to a comic convention and want that specific outfit? Son of Sandlar will not only make it for you, they will even destroy the pattern if that is your wish. How about a one-of-a-kind?
Headed to a Renaissance faire and want the very best? Son of Sandlar has you covered.
As part of the tour of his shop at the Sherwood Forest Faire, Arik dressed Austinot Brittany in one of his creations called the “Huntress,” a red leather piece inspired by a movie. Maybe you can identify which movie from the photos here:
Arik is incredibly passionate about his craft and a stickler for details. Let’s look at one of many exemplary Renaissance costumes that he has in his inventory.
This piece is his signature creation, and he calls it the “Warrior’s Tunic.”
This exquisite ensemble is a veritable showcase of the craftsmanship level present in all of Son of Sandlar’s creations. Click on any of these photos to see them enlarged, so you can look at the quality for yourself.
The finest leathers are chosen, and true silk linings which keep the leather from staining garb worn underneath the tunic are added. Features like custom made Foundry clasps unique to Son of Sandlar creations, custom piping on the trim, “V” style seams, angled stitching, and even inner pockets make this ensemble incomparable to anything out there on the market.
Because Son of Sandlar creates their own work, and they are able to make production runs, consumer costs go down drastically.
To give you an idea of how this works, just the cost of the pre-pattern work, the pattern itself, materials and production of the Warrior’s Tunic would normally cost around $2,000.00. But because Son of Sandlar has been in business for such a long time and has the regular and loyal clientele that they have, they are able to offer this amazing work for only $845.00.
They also have Warrior’s Vests, doublet style versions of the Warriors Tunic, at $450.00.
When I tell you that this family is all about quality and customer service, I can’t stress it enough. You can see it here for yourself.
Son of Sandlar is also very active on Facebook and holds regular giveaways. You can find them on Facebook HERE.
Where can you find their shop? Their main shop is out of Savannah, GA. However, they are in the Texas area at least three times a year at the following Renaissance faires:
- Sherwood Forest Faire
- Scarborough Faire
- Texas Renaissance Festival
Interestingly, when I spoke to Arik at the Sherwood Forest Faire, he told me that the company does 18 different shows per year. He mentioned that there was a show taking place in Florida near his home, but that he opted to come to the Sherwood Forest Faire instead. When asked why, Arik explained that he really believes that, though Sherwood is a relatively new faire, it has the potential to become one of the best in the United States.
Arik is also all about keeping business stateside. During the interview, he stated, “With the economy being the way that it is, you can definitely find cheaper garb and boots, but none that are made with the attention to detail and craftsmanship like ours. We work hard to bring the best quality to our customers and we keep everything in the States. I’d like to encourage people to support our country’s economy, and whatever you buy…buy American-made!”
In closing, I’d like to say that I agree with you Arik. You may find cheaper boots and garb out there…but you get what you pay for, and in my opinion you’ll be hard pressed to find better craftsmanship than yours.
Bravo, Son of Sandlar…. here’s to many more successful years in the business.
For more details, check out Son of Sandlar on the web by clicking HERE.
Man, I’ve Always wanted some of those boots. But I loved Brittany’s outfit she tried on! I have seen these guys at both the Tecas Renaissance Festival and Sherwood Forrest Faire and their work is amazing. There is so much detail to all of their products! It’s wonderful.
I almost didn’t let him take the outfit off of Brittany. She was smokin’! LOL. Fun times, and these guys do amazing work. If you guys go back this weekend to Sherwood with your friends Haleigh, stop by and tell Arik we said hello.
It was hard to take her out of it!
My husband and I each own two pairs of their boots (peasant and merchant styles) and absolutely love them! I wear my merchant boots several times a week and get the best compliments! We are looking to add to our Son of Sandlar collection this year. You would be hard pressed to find better made boots or such great customer service anywhere.
Jess, wow.. two pairs each!? That is awesome. What are you looking to add to your Son of Sandlar collection this year? Some garb perhaps? Do tell. – Eric
I am a Son of Sandlar customer, and I could not be happier with the products. Both myself and my wife own a pair of the nine button boots, and Arik went out of his way to get us fitted into the right pair, and with the exact style we wanted. Fantastic service, fantastic product – and a true artisan product at that. Worth every single penny.
S Dunne, 100% of the feedback on Son of Sandlar has been positive. I’m really glad to hear that you echo my sentiments in this post. Have you ordered any of their garb yet?
for halloween of 2010 i ordered some really horrible boots for a little over 100 dollars that gave me blisters whenever i wore them so when i decided wanted to do a link costume i knew i needed good boots. so the first place i thought of was son of sandlar cause one of my friends had purchased a pair for an ezio costume and told me they were wonderful shoes. i bought a pair of Captain teach boots just a few months ago and i LOVE them. i think that these beautiful handmade boots will make a huge difference in my cosplay and cant wait to show them off at the anime convention
Dane, Arik told me that many people buy costume boots and are sadly disappointed in how painful they are. He also added that many folks who end up coming to Son of Sandlar will make a purchase and then they don’t ever NEED new boots, but they love them so much that they’ll eventually come back and purchase a different style for another costume. I’m glad you saw our post and that you love their product too. – Eric
Thank you everyone for the kind words.. With your support we will be able to bring you all sorts of new designs and concepts for years to come!
Your work is truly amazing Arik, glad to see that some of your fans are saying the same. 100% of feedback has been great!
I am at the moment, trying to find a place to buy Renaissance era boots, well a
friend is actually but still all the same really. A man’s boot is needed, but
uni-sex is fine as well, and hopefully no extremely expensive.
House Music, you probably won’t find better than Son of Sandlar.. their work is pretty amazing.. though it is not cheap. Like I said in the post… you get what you pay for.
My husband and I met because of a pair of Sandlar, thigh-high, buckle-up boots. He’s had his for over 17 years (still in GREAT condition with Vibrant color) and I’ve had mine since I met him (7 years). Great quality and they still look new! Not to mention I have worn them practically everywhere.
Haha Jackie, you should be the Son of Sandlar spokesperson! Share an image for us! Would love to see them. – Eric
A friend of mine had the front tire of his motorcycle blow off going about 70mph. He was wearing Sandlars and was able to use his feet to stop himself without injury. All that’s different about the boots is that the soul has a little less tread on it. But not much. How’s that for quality?
Wow Jackie! Now that is a testimony! Glad your friend is ok! Does Arik know about this? I’m sure he’d love to hear this. Let me know if he doesn’t, I’ll pass him the info.
Plz feel free to join our group: renaissance enthusiasts
Is this a FB group Rebecca?
I’m a very happy customer of Son of Sandlar. After years of wanting, I purchased my 9 Buckle boots a few years ago. Couldn’t be happier. I wear them with pride. Dresses, Skirts, Garb, Hiking, Mall, Day at the zoo, They do it all. They are so comfortable (even after being in them and on your feet for 10 hours) and durable, I couldn’t say enough great things.
I purchased the THE ROSE JACKET, Steam punk, Renaissance several years ago. I think it was the prototype. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I’ve worn it several times and it’s STILL in EXCEPTIONAL condition! I’d love to purchase a new style soon. Thanks Arik!