Women’s History Month: A Year Into the Pandemic, How 15 Female Shoe Entrepreneurs Are Forging Ahead and Finding Purpose
Jaclyn Jones, founder of Californians Footwear
Jones is also the founder of sustainable footwear factory Clover & Cobbler and handcrafted artisan footwear brand Salpy. Both of her brands, as well as the factory, are based in Los Angeles.
On the made-to-order business model: “As a boutique footwear factory at Clover & Cobbler, we focus on small-batch production, and our made-to-order manufacturing process is exactly what the industry needs right now. With the uncertainty in consumer spending habits during the pandemic, brands and retailers are hesitant to take on too much inventory at once. There is a push for ordering smaller runs with shorter lead times that are more tailored to the current season and follow the active trends. Fortunately, our in-house brands Californians and Salpy operate on this same made-to-order business model. So while other brands were worried about their large levels of inventory on hand, or whether their product from overseas would even arrive in the U.S., our brands were in a much safer position. Our money was not tied up in inventory, giving us the ability to react quickly to trends, like slippers, where we could make samples, fit test and roll out small batches to sell on our website all within a month. Now, with 2021 finally here, we’re able to move forward and not worry about selling last year’s shoes.”
On the importance of sustainability at a time of crisis: “COVID has been a huge wake-up call to brands large and small about the challenges our industry faces, including ordering huge volumes of inventory, increasingly longer lead times, supply chain issues, unethical working conditions, waste and the environmental effects of cross-global transportation and pollution. The consumers is becoming more and more aware of the gap between them and the manufacturing process and is gravitating towards more transparent brands … This movement is something that has been important to us since the beginning, but to see it happening in such a major way and ripple out on a global scale definitely makes me feel optimistic about the future of our industry and our planet.”
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