Meet The Makers: Bogdan, Managing Director

(3rd Generation)⁠

Nephew of the 2nd Generation director Czeslaw Goral, son of founder Franciszek, Bogdan followed in his family's footsteps working in the Goral & Son workshop from an early age.⁠

Starting at 12 years old he got his first taste of the workshop life, helping out around the workshop, mainly cleaning and packing the shoes. Once he was old enough he moved on to an operative role, cutting his teeth on the more traditional dress shoes the company used to manufacture, gaining experience in each stage of the craftsmanship process. As time went on he worked his way up to a management position taking on more responsibility and becoming more involved in the running of the business.⁠

Bogdan showed a keener interest in shoemaking, and the business as whole, than his siblings and cousins, so when the time came for Czeslaw to retire he was the obvious successor. ⁠

After running the company in Poland for 3 decades, financial downturn and government restrictions on the industry pushed him to relocate the business or risk losing what his family had built. The decision was made to move to the UK where he could use his experience to open a shoe repair business with the aim of working to setting up as a manufacturer again once they had a foothold in the country.

The move was a success, the repair business began to thrive with Bogdan and eldest son Kamil manning the operation and undertaking the majority of the work as well. During this time Bogdan began to build a rapport with contacts in the UK and started to lay the foundations for reopening the manufacturing side of things.

In 2011 Goral & Son opened their first UK workshop based in Sheffield and began recruiting experienced workers many of whom had worked for the company previously. They secured big contracts from UK brands due to their technical knowhow and traditional approach to both business and craft.

“What attracted me to them was that it was a father and son, and they spoke like shoemakers, not agents, Bogdan and Kamil just turned up at the factory in Cobbs Lane with a few samples, it was all very ‘us, we, I’, and I liked the fact that their vernacular was the same as in the factory at Dr Martens and very hands on.”  
Stephen Bent - 2019
International sourcing and production manager at Dr Martens

Over the coming years the business went from strength to strength with the operation expanding, investing in equipment, hiring more staff and moving to a larger location. This growth set the foundations for Dominik, the youngest of Bogdan's sons to begin planning the launch of the GORAL brand, with Bogdan acting as a sounding board of advice and ideas.

A key part of Dominik's vision for the GORAL brand was to combine traditional shoemaking with modern advancements to create timeless, high quality, wearable shoes. Bogdan was instrumental in this process offering his own insight along with that of the generations of shoemakers that came before him. One example of this was the development of the Goral Blake stitch, based on Bogdan's knowledge of dress shoes from his earlier years he was able to develop a take on this traditional method that could be used for trainers to make them easily resoleable.

Bogdan still heads the company to this day and handles the production side of the operation whilst Dominik has stepped up to take on the business side of things. It's under his experienced guidance and expertise that the company has achieved and maintained a standard of quality that can be seen in both our own shoes and the shoes we craft for other brands.