Rémy Richard registered the Paraboot name in 1927, from "Para" – a port in Amazonia, where the latex was exported from, and "boot" – the interesting new shoe he had discovered in the United States. As you can see, it was a far more meaningful decision than simply creating a brand with a trendy English-language-sounding name. And so the Paraboot technique and style were born ! Meanwhile, Rémy continued to make more sophisticated shoes with a thin leather sole for the softest of carpets, under the Extra brand. It was to be an unusual – and lasting – contrast. Rémy was one of a kind – a self-taught man, full of common sense, whose only education was in the great school of life. He always had his eye on the outside world, and in spite of his humble beginnings, did not hesitate to rent the Lido to present his collections, have his photo taken at Harcourt – and get suited up if needs be. For his last, somewhat crazy invention (which in the end got nowhere), he went so far as to invite the President of France to attend a demonstration of his "floating man" crossing the Seine – wearing a rubber suit.
An daring wager – stitching at all costs
Rémy Richard’s son Julien joined the company in 1937, at the age of 20. It was not easy to take over from such a devoted, successful father. Julien had spent his childhood away from his parents in a number of different boarding schools, leaving with just an ordinary school leaver’s certificate. The phoney war, followed by the Occupation, obviously slowed down production due to a lack of raw materials. It meant a return to wooden soles and living by one’s wits. The workers alternated work at the factory and tending the fields, rented for the purpose, with the produce redistributed. After liberation, a thirst for recovering everything that had been done without during the war got the factories working again, but times had changed. The war led to the development of the chemicals industry. Synthetic materials appeared, as did glues, which were to revolutionise shoe construction methods.