Today is a very special day for José Manuel Almeida. The artisan will be proudly and enthusiastically presenting the shoes that his hands, his dedication and his perfectionism have brought to life. Standing by the window of the bright room in a century-old Lisbon building, he proceeds to organize his work tools on a small wooden stall. Next to them, he places materials and moulds which he uses to shape shoe models. Last but not least, he carefully adjusts his apron.

Everything is ready to welcome the editors, journalists, bloggers and stylists who, first hand, will have the opportunity to see the first Perks collection. The room has been carefully decorated for the event. Right by the door, you can catch a glimpse of some shoes and accessories. The brand’s most iconic, now reinvented models, however, are to be found in the centre of the room. These shoes, of masculine inspiration, unveil the modern, androgynous and timeless character of Perks 1942.

It’s two o´clock. The artisan welcomes the first guests. He shows them the care that goes into handling natural leather, and explains how much time and attention the execution of each detail involves. He then shares with them that his learning experience – at the hands of the best masters – in the art of shoemaking started at the tender age of 13. The spark in his eyes says it all. José Manuel Almeida feels part of the family. The passion and devotion in his words are intoxicating, the visitors watch him in awe and compliment him on the thoroughness of his work.

At the back of the room, a screen shows the videos shot for the new brand on repeat. Between two campaign videos, there’s the Perks presentation film. As Catarina Fernandes watches it, nostalgia dances in her eyes – she is noticeably moved. The video presents us with the history of the Everest factory, located in São João da Madeira, where the shoes being presented here today are both designed and produced. Together with her brother, André Fernandes, her cousin, António Carlos, and her second cousin, Diogo Alçada, Catarina Fernandes took over the helm of the family business, founded by her grandfather in 1942.

To her left, Diogo Alçada photographs the table where the Perks Today shoes and sneakers are displayed. These, just like him, represent the young, casual and sporty segment of the brand. Thoroughly documenting every detail, Diogo and his camera walk the room. Editors and journalists do the same, uttering positive remarks and immediately posting photos via Facebook or Instagram.

Meanwhile, André Fernandes takes on the role of the host and takes his guests on a ‘guided tour’. In an honest and intimate tone, he explains that Perks is the result of an evolving change in the brand, previously named Cohibas. And that their logo, a seahorse, was a premeditated choice – Perks’ mission is to continue the pursuit of values such as loyalty, audacity and perseverance, values that have always been at the core of their family business.

It is a beautiful night in the centre of Lisbon. It is now seven o’clock. Having bid farewell to their guests, the three creative generations sit down and share the feedback they have received. Twenty-eight journalists and press members, fourteen bloggers and three stylists and wardrobe supervisors attended the event and got to know the new brand. It is now time to pack up and head back to São João da Madeira to celebrate the new brand’s first success, in the hope that many more will follow. 2017 will certainly not be short of celebrations: Everest will complete its 75th anniversary and Perks has been officially launched!