TOWNSHEND, Vt. (WCAX) This week's Made in Vermont kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling. Shepherd's Flock makes sheepskin slippers that have been shipped all over the world.
For forty years, Rick Hege has been going to work in his basement.
"I get a cup of coffee in the morning, I walk down the stairs and that's where my day starts," Hege said. He cuts and sews sheepskin accessories. "Slippers, in general, are still the best selling items."
And the one current item that Hege's been making since the very beginning -- he has three styles for men ranging from $68 to $93, and five styles for women ranging from $65 to $108.
"My slippers are on all time. I love the material. I mean, I really do like the material. A fantastic material to work with, a fantastic material to wear," Hege said.
The majority of skins are from sheep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and most of the skins are tanned in Texas, but the craftsmanship is all here. "It is us. I mean, when someone calls to order something, they're talking to people who make it," Hege said.
Ordering is also done through the Shepherd's Flock Facebook page and website. The website has been around since the mid 90's. "The longevity there has been really really good for us," Hege said.
Hege works with three sewing machines, but he one that primarily makes the slippers has been with him for all 40 years. His father-in-law got it for him at an antique shop in the Midwest. "I'm fascinated by machinery, and people who would take an idea and somehow make it work with all these little tiny pieces, parts and synchronization involved," Hege said.
Hege knows something about taking an idea and putting together the pieces to make it work. He's been doing it for four decades -- quietly.