byJAMES- The Inception


After living in Mexico for a little over a year, I found my wardrobe essentials and overall style begin to shift into more of a relaxed look. Although a basic pair of flip-flops is a great and simple style, I wanted something a bit more refined, a shoe that would wear well on the streets of Mexico, but also be something you could buy here and wear in any setting or town around the world. I could not find a place here to shop for what became an essential in my wardrobe- a good, classic, leather sandal. 

I discovered the beautiful, quaint, colonial town of Valladolid early on in my time here and having worked a bit with leather in Dallas, I am always drawn in by a leather goods shop which is how I discovered our factory that we use. I walked in to see the walls draped with shoes and a small room with three Mayan men and an old, overused machine. The strong smell of leather and the grit in their hands from hand carving each shoe in this tiny little work space was what initially inspired me. 

The shoes that hung on their walls were made with rubber tire scraps as the sole and looked like every other local artisan shoe shop- I bought a pair. I wore them once before they fell apart which meant there was room for improvement. Something I noticed across Mexico is that, the local artisan shops all sell the exact same products one after the next, each one trying to convince you that their items are made better and differently. I thought with a little creative influence and drive we could make this shop something different while utilizing and featuring their skill set (with a modern platform) that they have refined over the course of their life. I revisited the shop/factory and asked if he could make a pair of custom shoes for me. I reconstructed the shoe and made a more simple and modern style. My expectations were not high when I initially asked and when I went to pick them up, I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality and comfort of the shoe after wearing them for several months. I then went to my friend who is an artist here and asked is she could draw some designs for me to create my initial collection. I took them the binder of hand drawings and we launched our first collection around May of 2015. 

When I thought of my brand name and what I wanted to be called, I have always loved my last name and felt like it has a lot of character. My Father is a huge source of inspiration for me and though he tragically died in a mountain climbing accident 10 years ago, I thought this could be a great way to honor his name. I called my brother who is in advertising and asked him to go dig up some of Dad's old letters and translate his handwriting into my logo. There was no editing besides the spacing and now my Dad has officially designed my logo! I am extremely proud to have his handwriting used on our shoe bags hanging in boutiques around the world, used on my marketing tools and in the hands of my consumers. 

This was a path, a business and an adventure that I never planned or expected and it's only the beginning, but I am so incredibly thankful for the support of my friends and family and most importantly, those of you who have purchased a pair and who have an appreciation for handcrafted goods and fair trade. 

Thank you all and I look forward to the rest of our journey together! Walk well. 

 

Much Love,

KJ