I suppose we all, at one time or another, have wanted to set up own small professional shoe shine stall, maybe at an airport, or local bus station. But so often it's finding a source of appropriate professional equipment that is the restraining factor. Where can we get the very large brushes, polish and the big seat that form the basics of the business? Well certainly not trade suppliers FW Cook and Sons of Durham, who will not sell to members of the public, as I recently found. This has led me to a Web search for alternate sources of pro shine gear (in particular, I am looking for very large brushes that provide the necessary purchase for a tight hand grip), and I am pleased to report that, maybe apart from the big seat, everything you might need for your new career can be found out there. Maybe you can make your own big seat.
Anyway, here are the sites that seem most useful. They can also be used for as a source of advanced amateur equipment for the shoe enthusiast: in particular Cedar shoe trees which cost $45 or so in UK can be found for $14 on the web, and there are no doubt other bargains to be had.
For the true enthusiast, maybe one who travels with a good sized trolley or cart, here is a very fine shoe shine kit from George's Shoes which should provide many years of satisfaction. They also offer the useful professional shoe butler; scroll down to see this must-have home accessory. Note that they helpfully point out which of the illustrative photographs is the one which does not have the shoe attached.
French polish suppliers Briwax seem to have the most serious brushes, although I have not yet tried them out. Not clear whether bristles designed to buff wax on carvings and moldings to a nice lustrous shine will work also on shoes. Should do.
Although without a web catalogue, Mission Manufacturing have almost all the equipment needed for the professional shoe-shine operation, and can supply many of the accessories required if you are building your own big seat. Give them a call maybe. In the meantime look at their low-tech site - skipping the lame gift ideas, and heading straight for the impressive 'shine stand foot rest' page. Who wouldn't appreciate one of these beauties in their Christmas sock or maybe ready-screwed to a nearby door or fire surround?