An Interview with CHU Jiahao, Founder of Oct Tenth

I didn’t plan to disclose that he is the president of a bank, since he himself wanted to tell, of course I have no opinion.

This is the lightest interview I have ever, on the one hand, his answers are very lighthearted and entertaining, on the other hand, he edited and proofread already to save my effort.

Let’s take a look at the story of the founder of the most well known shoemaker in China.

Tell us about yourself and your various interesting experiences.

My web name is HDD and everyone calls me “factory director”, and I am in charge of TGC/Oct Tenth products, mainly responsible for shoe lasts, leather, style, process details, etc., order management and factory production is taken care by my wife Xibao.

Unlike most shoemakers, I love nightlife and drink, I bounce on weekends.

Before my junior year I was a shy and introverted boy, and suddenly one day I got up in the dorm room and wanted to be an extrovert, so I started a crazy party life with friends. It’s a rather bizarre upbringing, I’ve always felt that it has helped me a lot in my career, work hard play hard, the mentality has always been good, and there will always be progress.

How did you enter the dress shoe manufacturing industry? You should have a lot of stories in this circle in Shanghai.

I entered a bank job after graduating from college, and one day when I glanced Zhihu (Chinese version of Quora), I happened to see GE Jing’s “Men’s Shoes: Throw Away the Glue, Embrace Goodyear”, and I was fascinated, so I immediately ordered a pair of Allen Edmonds’ shoes that she mentioned in the article, and I have been paying attention to men’s shoes ever since.

Allen Edmonds Warwick

In 2015, when I was still a bank credit manager, my father asked me to help a friend of his to make a loan, he was a small shareholder of a dress shoe factory. I went to the factory and felt that the shoes seemed to be doing well but the style is too out of date. I thought of making 2 pairs of good-looking shoes according to my own design, which will save a lot of money than buying foreign brand shoes. After making shoes, I put them on sale on Xianyu (an online second hand market owned by Alibaba). I didn’t expect many people were very interested. I thought that this thing can be done, and began the journey of making shoes.

I think it was luck, at that time, I especially liked to make the last of my shoes casually and draw the proportional lines of the drawings, although it seems very ugly now, but at that time I felt beautiful.

Through selling shoes, I met a lot of friends who had a particularly good relationship, anyway, I sold a lot of shoes inexplicably, and also helped the factory earn a lot of money at that time, and the boss let me serve as the “factory director”, mainly responsible for product development.

What is the origin of the name TGC? How did you set up your own portal at that time?

TGC is combined with Tang, Gu and Chu, we were very good friends at that time, and I brought everyone together, everyone was working in various fields at that time, and making shoes was a common hobby for everyone, but then they both quit.

In August 2017, because the concept of the original factory owner was very different from mine, and the product was completely out of touch with my ideal, the product quality was extremely bad, which is still something I am very guilty of now, so I came up with the idea of setting up my own production.

There was half a year of preparation, and it was really hard, I slept only 4-5 hours day and gave up a whole year of nightlife, I didn’t feel good then.

In the beginning, how did you get customers?

At the beginning of the factory, the orders were from suit store and Taobao. When it was first established, it was the time to set the tone of the product, and it was also constantly clarifying the standards they wanted in the process of making pairs.

In the early days of entrepreneurship, I was tired and loss-making, but I had a better mentality, and I have always regarded this as an interest, so there were no negative emotions.

Later, through some group orders from my friends, I got through the most difficult stage, and also determined the basis for the later product direction.

In fact, I think I have always been very lucky, there are many friends who help me, I would like to thank Mr. Zhu, Mr. Yang and others for their great help, without them I am estimated to be in the stage of dire straits.

How many staff are in your workshop?

We currently have 13 craftsmen, and the production volume is about 6-7 pairs per day.

TGC is leading dress shoe aesthetics in China, how did you do it? Who is doing the last development and upper design?

These are all done by me and I’m just making what I want. It is difficult for me to say exactly how to do it, that is, I will always look at my own version and last, watch it every day, look at it and think of changes. When I look at the previous patterns, I feel they are extremely ugly.

An old pair

I usually go shopping, buy more and see more, I will have some ideas, and then I will buy some leather related to my own ideas then try to make something to dress myself.

Does TGC have any goals? Or when people refer to your brand, which word do you want people to use to describe it.

In fact, when I see someone mentioning us, I don’t dare to look, because in the early days the products were really my nightmare, which is a big shadow. I suppose it will disappear only after I don’t run this business.

I’ve been constantly optimising to get closer to the standard I want. I would be very happy if you received the shoes and wore them and thought they were worth it.

What are the difficulties and shortcomings of TGC at present, I have heard people mention that the acquisition of good leather is a problem, is there anything else?

Leather is a real problem, and I am currently contacting various manufacturers to order fresh leather directly. In fact, I pick the most expensive leather to buy, but there will always be bad portions.

To be honest, my previous utilization rate of leather was basically 60%.

Are there any plans of TGC?

TGC has been moving towards the high-end positioning, and at the same time I think we need to pay more attention to brand building, but that is my wife is responsible. I am not particularly interested in this aspect and I just want to make wonderful shoes.

At the same time, our brand will have collaborations with foreign brands, and there will be more.

What models are your favorite?

My favorite are those unlined loafers.

Many clients love to give me a few models, then select last and leather, the rest is all mine. I like this kind of projects and look forward to seeing the finished product.

A few words to the dress shoe lovers.

I am sorry to my friends who had a bad experience with my early products, and I look forward to your return;

Don’t take shoes such as G&G, John Lobb, etc. and ask me to make the same style, just buy the original;

The craftsmanship of shoes is only to assist shoes to achieve the best looking state, not fully represent the price of shoes, be handsome is the most important;

Remote customization is most likely not better than ready to wear shoes.


Other than an industry insider he is actually more of a hobbyist. Perhaps it is for this reason that his aesthetic is very recognized in the circle of enthusiasts.

Whether as a hobbyist or an amateur consumer, it is fortunate to have such a manufacturer. He pays more attention to how the shoes are more beautiful and how the upper leather feels better, rather than on the profit margin.

As a person who loves shoes, if shoes can’t pass their own level, even if they make money, it will be a little uncomfortable. As he himself said, it is time to atone for his sins.

The core of brand is not a premium, but an insistence on quality.