Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis-bred entrepreneur chooses shoes over paperwork

shoes1W

Michael Paratore, born and raised in Davis and a 1999 graduate of Davis High, smiles broadly as he finds the labor source for his mohinder shoes in India. A former corporate lawyer, he quit his job and spent a year searching for the highest quality leather and suppliers to make the shoes. Courtesy photo

By
From page A6 | November 17, 2013 |

From the life of a successful lawyer at a respected law firm to that of a shoe peddler.

This is not the premise of a work of fiction, it’s been the path of Davis-born Michael Paratore. This is also not a twist on a rags-to-riches story; it’s the tale of a man embracing a lifelong passion.

Paratore, 32, who grew up in Davis and graduated from Davis High in 1999, abandoned his position as a corporate lawyer about two years ago to launch mohinders, a company that sells shoes sourced straight from India.

“It has been pretty amazing, but sort of like a roller-coaster at times,” he said. “I’ve been working on this by myself, for the most part. And when you’re by yourself in a field that you have no experience in, there’s certainly going to be ups and downs.”

Still, he considers it an upgrade from his previous life as a lawyer, wherein he had little opportunity to get outside his stuffy office and explore different places and cultures. This has been a passion of his for years.

“My first trip out of the country was with one of my best friends, who was also from Davis,” Paratore said. “His father was Scottish, so they traveled to a little town outside London. I stayed there for two or three weeks.

“I think it was ever since that trip that I’ve had this obsessed with traveling, going abroad and seeing different cultures.”

This early interest led him to living and working in Italy after he completed his undergrad education at UCLA in 2004. There, he journeyed across Europe on a Ducati Motorcycle to promote the bike as part of a marketing gig.

But he decided to return America for a more situated job two years later, and enrolled in law school at UC Berkeley. Upon graduating, the international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe offered him a position in its San Francisco office, which he took.

During his time as a lawyer, he presented burgeoning startups with legal and business advice relating to incorporation, note and equity financing and day-to-day operations.

“But I had a history of doing more creative stuff,” admitted Paratore, who had also in an earlier occupation filmed travel-themed videos that were sold to Current TV. “Being a lawyer was a big change for me.

“I mean, having an office at the law firm was great, but there wasn’t a whole lot of human interaction. I would talk to my legal secretary a lot, just because there was no one else around.”

The impetus for another career change was a pair of leather slip-ons that he purchased from a street-side shop on a trip with his wife to Mumbai, India. Paratore was inspired by the craftsmanship, and wanted to find a way of introducing it to more people.

An advance notice to his boss and a flight ticket later, Paratore was back in Mumbai, on a search for where the shoes were produced. He said he stumbled across a shoe-crafting cooperative in a village in northwestern Karnataka, which he believed he could source the hand-crafted and woven leather in sufficient quantities to start a business.

The company that emerged, mohinders, advertises shoes of hand-made leather. The entrepreneur buys the material from Indian craftsmen and women who have been tanning leather for several generations.

Many have converted their front yards into mini-tanneries, Paratore explained, replete with stone pits in which the artisans dip buffalo hides as part of their 40-day tanning process.

“I have a lot of contact with the artisans, as I’ve visited them three or four times,” he added. “Nobody speaks English very well, so I can’t have extensive conversations, but I do sit down, watch and communicate with them as well as I can.”

All the shoes are made abroad, but Paratore said he hopes to learn the trade to some degree himself. However, it has been a learning experience enough just planning out the venture and its associated crowdsourcing inception.

Paratore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the infrastructure required to bring these shoes to customers in America. He’s offering rewards for contributions. More information can be found at http://bit.ly/mohinders.

Within three days of the fundraising effort beginning, the $15,000 benchmark Paratore set had already been surpassed by donors. The achievement is validation for this former lawyer, and the risk he took for an inspiring pair of shoes.

“Most important about it is that it’s a great product,” Paratore said. “That should be a drive for a lot of people. When you look beneath the surface, you also see a company that is good — that sources right.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

.

News

Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Garamendi votes against energy, water development bill

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8