As the product designer here at fredflare.com, I like to post things that inspire me, and shoe designer Jeffrey Campbell is a total inspiration! I recently chatted with Jeffrey to get a shoe up on designing, his inspiration and how he achieved, head over heels, the cutest footwear ever!!!
Hi Jeffrey, I just Googled your name and got 531,000 results, WOW!
531,000? That's kind of creepy. There must be another Jeffrey Campbell out there... we don't even have a website.
How did you begin designing shoes? Did you ever dream you’d be the success you are today? Did Dorothy’s ruby slippers make you itch for fun footwear?
I have been in shoes my entire life. We are such a small company just trying to make great, fun shoes. It’s a family business---we are all involved. My wife, kids and my brother. We actually did a version of the ruby slipper... lots of sequins... so yes, Dorothy has inspired me.
I heard you have super cute children. Do you make mini sized shoes for them? Do they know what you do? Are there shoe rules in your house, like shoes off at the door?
I have three amazing kids. They are all part of the business, and all are very different from each other. My daughters wear the shoes, assist me at tradeshows and sketch design ideas. My business runs because of my family, so they very much know what I do. No shoe rules!! We love shoes... that's the only rule! We mostly design shoes for adult women, although some of them are very fun and whimsical. We are in the process of launching a new sub brand called THE SISTERS CAMPBELL, named after my daughters Amber and Brigitte. It will be stylized in a more junior way. Very young---inspired by my girls, their friends etc. Stay tuned for that.
How did you get your business to grow so huge?
The business and our distribution is growing. However, as I mentioned, we are still a very small company---slowly growing each season as we learn and change to help our customers and clients. It's a process. Our clients are loyal. Once they become JC girls, they have a tendency to come back again and again for more! We love that. The collection is nearly 7 years old, but I have worked in shoes forever and so has my brother Dean. Sales, retail, wholesale---now we both work together here at Jeffrey Campbell.
Was there one blockbuster collection that really launched your company into superstardom?
Our line is not collection based----not really. It is item driven. We keep it that way so we can simply do whatever we want.... if mid season we see a hot trend, we can jump on it---even if it doesn't follow the "theme." In short, we are excited about shoes... all shoes. There have been certain styles which have been JC superstars, but for us, they all hold a special place. There are some our clients love---the last year has been like an avalanche of ballet flats and flats in general! In changes, trends change in apparel, and that filters down all the way down to the feet.
What's the future have in store for Jeffery Campbell? Clothing, housewares, horse shoes?
Nah, it may seem boring---and unbelievable, but I am still searching for the perfect shoe to round our Summer 2007 collection. We work very close to season. Always searching! I like the idea of horse shoes---we always love anything Western and cowboy themed!! One thing we are trying out is collaborations. We are teaming up with a few of our best and key stores (stores that always give us great directions) and doing small collaborations with them---limited edition shoes and specialty items. We like to hear from each and every account about what they think is hot. That's why we sell to so many small stores versus chained out dept. stores. The small street level stores are really the feelers of the fashion world that our brand lives in. So stay tuned for those new shoes by fall!!