Monday, April 18, 2011

About Our Firm-Soled Shoes

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As we have been spreading the word about our transition from our hand-made shoes to firm-soled designs, there have been quite a lot of questions about our new product--and understandably so! Thus, I thought it would help to explain how the transition came about, and give you some information on our new line of shoes.

I think it's appropriate to mention that I went from a crafter making a few booties to researching production in just a few months. After having made only a few dozen booties, I was called and told that my tiny little shoes would be in Instyle Magazine. So, I figured I need to find a manufacturer and that was when my journey for production began, back in 2009. I found several different suppliers and saw dozen of samples over a year and a half, but they were all terrible, cheap, plast-ified versions of the handmade shoes. The textures were flat, and there were no careful details. There were so many times when I wanted to give up because the product was so poor.

After nearly abandoning one of my long-time business contacts, he said he might have a factory--they do high end shoes and typically work with 25K minimums. They looked at Joyfolie and decided we had something worth investing in--and agree to produce much smaller numbers for us. In the interim I got better and better at making the handmade shoes, and also made a decision--that if I was going to manufacture our designs, there would be no compromise. These shoes would have all the same details as the handmade originals: hand cut flowers, careful packaging, eco-friendly construction, and beautiful textures.

I am pleased to say, our firm-soled shoes are all that and more! Most of the basic construction of the shoe is certified eco-friendly and a combination of organic and sustainable materials. Additionally, all the details are carefully hand-done, just like in our studio. Many of the materials are designer/US made. In some cases for our boots, the buttons are custom cast as vintage replicas. Similarly in keeping with our handmade roots, the shoes are softer and not nearly as stiff as typical manufactured shoes. Most store-bought shoes are lined in either a synthetic fake leather or pig skin, either of which makes the side walls of the shoes heavy and tough. Joyfolie shoes are much softer and lighter on the foot. However, we were careful about choosing ankle support, so they are durable and supportive enough for an older child, too. Finally, I considered all the careful details I would put into packaging a pair of shoes as a gift for a friend, and then decided we would ship them all that way. So, it is my hope that when you open the shoes, they bring a big smile to you and to your little one, as well.

Regarding price, it was a good deal more expensive to produce a firm-soled shoe than a soft-soled one. After researching the market carefully, we decided our shoes would be appropriately priced above Gap and below JCrew. Additionally, our shoes will be available at a well-known and well-loved national retailer this fall. And unlike JCrew and Gap, our shoes are a boutique line with eco-friendly properties. All these factors went into our new pricing structure. However, I felt it was very important to thank the loyal customers who loved and supported our brand while we were handmade, which is why we included some special extras via our newsletter with especially those people in mind.

Regarding size, we decided to offer size 4-13. Because our shoes are firm-soled but light, we deemed this appropriate for new walkers and older. We hope to go back at some point and add soft-soled and some day boys shoes, too! But for now, these are the sizes we will be offering.

Finally, we have a partner who will be processing our orders for us. It is very difficult to manage timely orders with a small staff--especially with today's technology where one good piece of exposure can spike our sales quickly. {This happened to us a lot!} As we transition to our new line, we will no longer have to struggling to handle volume. Our contract with our shipping partner guarantees that orders placed before 2 pm will ship the very same day!

I have tried, in as many ways possible, to create a Joyfolie experience that was not only true to our original roots, but even better. So, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support in Joyfolie--for teaching me to believe that more is possible in life that I ever imagined! I can't wait for you to see the new shoes! I hope that you love them as much as I do!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi

Very sorry to hear that the launch has been delayed but me and many other mothers are so excited to buy pairs of joyfolies that its definitely worth the wait and whats a few more days.
Cant wait to see them.

Ruby.

Anonymous said...

I read some where that you will only be doing size 4 and up? Is that true? I hope not : ( I have been trying for 7 months to get a pair of shoes ad boots in a size 1 and 2. Please let me know if the rumor is true.

Susan Woods said...

Thank you for staying true to the brand you have so carefully created. I know I am not the only one who waits with bated breath. Congratulations and good luck!

tracyp said...

Congrats for sticking with it and making this dream come about!

Anonymous said...

"I read some where that you will only be doing size 4 and up? Is that true? I hope not : ( I have been trying for 7 months to get a pair of shoes ad boots in a size 1 and 2. Please let me know if the rumor is true."

Did you even read the blog post?

MissBean_WillowTree said...

Anon, are you american? American sizes are different from european and australian- and different with some brands. There is a well known company here who make shoes and my daughter is a size 2 in their shoes- but for every other Australian company, she is a 4 (American size 3.)

"standard" size 1 and 2 sound very small- newborn size, and they wouldn't last all that long before they were outgrown. My daughter outgrew her newborn socks in a few weeks...

dorylyn said...

As a new,and now loyal reader to your blog, congratulations! It thrills me to see a dream come true. You are an inspiration to keep on trudging.

Jenni said...

Jessica it has been so fun to watch your business grow! Sure, I have missed out on a shoe or two along the way, but I really do think that was part of the fun and the Joyfolie experience in the beginning. Look how far you have come and how true to yourself you have stayed the entire time! Can't believe shoes will be shipped the same day very soon!

SO VERY PROUD OF YOU! I am sure this is a big weight off of your shoulders...for now. Knowing you, you will be up to something very soon and will continue to amaze us!

Congratulations!

Soren Lorensen Design said...

I totally remember when you told me that you would be in InStyle magazine, I was SO excited for you!!! And look how far you've come!!! National retailer?? I cannot wait!!! xo

Chrissie Love said...

Thank you for all the background and info! I'm even more excited than ever to see the first shoes!!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for all your kind words and support! It is exciting! I can't wait for your little girls to start wearing them!

Regarding size, yes, size 4-13 in US sizes is what we will offer. I also put together a size chart that converts this to European sizing, so I will find a place to post that. Additionally, I am working on a printable PDF, so you can measure your child's foot and be sure to get the right size :)

virginia said...

Jessica, I don't comment much but I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you are. I love how you were able to stay true to your roots even as your brand is on the verge of becoming a household name (though it already is, in mine!). I'm so excited to finally be able to get some Joyfolie shoes too! :) Congratulations on such an awesome story of continued success. You deserve it!

Zang said...

So exciting! I think I already told you this, but you're so inspirational to me and I know others as well. My sister is having a baby girl, so I can't wait to give her a pair of your shoes to her. She'll love them! I also can't wait to hear who the lucky retailer is that will be carrying your shoes.

Hana said...

Congrats Jessica! So exciting to see how far your shoes have come in just a couple of years! I'm sure you have invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the process and I hope that the outcome it is everything and more than you could have dreamed! I can't wait to see them!..and see them in the secret retailer ;) May God continue to bless you and your creative endeavors!

xo
Hana

Kathleen Tavolaro said...

So excited for you, Jessica! I'm so sad my sweet girl has big feet! I hope you expand to bigger, kid sizes in the future! I love your shoes!

Angel Warrior said...

Yay Jessica !!!! I am so excited for this big day to finally arrive!!! I can't wait to see what is "in store" :)

Michelle Galazia said...

That is an awesome success story. Your handmade shoes are gorgeous. I can't wait to see what the new line has to offer! Congratulations to you!

Dear Lillie said...

I am so excited for you, Jess and can't wait until you officially launch them! I have been thinking about you and keeping you in my prayers. Will e-mail you back soon!

Jessica Haley said...

Thanks for the nice notes! Angel Warrior, so nice to see your familiar name! Hope you are well!

I think we will have a date in the next day or two--let's hope! :)

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