Stu Larkin, seller of bronzed baby shoes, offers us a rare glimpse into small-town Americana.
Stu Larkin is good at his job, and he knows it. In fact, he may be the best salesman in the country. What does he sell? Bronze baby shoes.
In this documentary short, director Peyton Wilson takes a closer look at this fascinating (and dying) trade through the eyes of an equally fascinating, albeit quirky, character. Larkin travels the country in his car, chatting with families around kitchen tables and taking orders for customized bronze baby shoes. His manner is direct and refreshingly uncompromising. He bemoans that he could have made “millions and millions and millions of dollars” if he had chosen a more lucrative path. Originally from Coney Island, Larkin draws on his life-long exposure to craftsmanship and small-town socialization, insisting that his company produces one of the last objects made by Americans in America. In addition to baby shoes, Larkin has bronzed a mold of a Vietnam veteran’s combat boots, a bear skull, and even a mold of an expectant mother.
Today, Larkin lives by three rules: “1) You get what you pay for. 2) If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. 3) If you ever do business with the back of a magazine or post-office box or today, the Internet, don’t ever expect to get what the picture looks like.”
For more from Peyton Wilson, visit his site.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.