10 Inspiring Success Stories

George Vlagos of Oak Street Bootmakers
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George Vlagos of Oak Street Bootmakers

When George Vlagos was in middle school, his father, a cobbler, would have him come into his Chicago shop to shine shoes every Saturday. John Vlagos, a Greek immigrant, was hoping to show his son that working with your hands is difficult and that he should find a different profession. Well, it backfired. The jobs that made it possible for him to afford a pair of nice shoes ended up driving him back to the family craft when he realized how difficult it was to find a pair of quality shoes. He decided to design his own. Today, there is a six-week wait list for a pair. "It blows my mind that people are walking the streets in New York, in Chicago, in other countries, wearing something that I designed," says Vlagos.