Learn All About the Nostalgic, Eco-Friendly Footwear Brand Made In L.A., Californians
When it comes to shopping, we love supporting brands made right here at home.
Sweety High is based in California, so our interest is definitely piqued when a company is also in our home state. There was no question as to where the footwear brand, Californians, was made (duh). This nostalgic, eco-friendly brand is only a little over a year old and is already making strides. We were so excited to speak with the owner, Jaclyn Jones, all about her journey and brand.
We can tell you from firsthand experience that Californians shoes are so worth the price tag. They're crazy comfortable and super cute—we pretty much live in them daily. Tbh, the only time we take them off is to work out, shower or sleep. That's how great they are!
Interested to learn more about this awesome brand? Keep reading for our full interview with owner, Jaclyn Jones, below.
Sweety High: Tell us about your brand and your journey.
Jaclyn Jones: Californians, which officially debuted in August 2019, arose from the partnership between footwear industry veteran Bill Clark and myself, as owner of Clover & Cobbler, a footwear factory in Los Angeles. The combination of our distinct experiences and styles proved to be a fun and exciting recipe for a new footwear brand. Together, we sought to create footwear that was denim-friendly and vintage-inspired, but most of all—comfortable!
Each of our shoes is designed with comfort in mind, with most of our shoes featuring our "Californians Comfort" revolutionary 6mm memory foam insole! Our diverse backgrounds allow for a wonderful crossroads between Bill's immersion into '60s surf culture and passion for all things vintage, and my future-focused eco-conscious approach and power-femme attitude. The result is a brand people from all generations can get behind. It nods at classic fashion with a hint of trendy-modern, while pushing "made in U.S.A." and championing for better manufacturing.
Prior to co-founding Californians, I was always passionate about fashion, and especially shoes. After completing business, marketing and visual arts degrees at the University of San Diego, and working for a few years, I decided to go back to school to get a degree in fashion. I graduated from FIDM with an apparel industry management degree in 2015 and gained some amazing industry experience in the following years. In 2017, I launched my namesake women's luxury footwear brand Jaclyn Jones USA, manufactured in Los Angeles, California.
Throughout the first two years of manufacturing my brand, I found myself frustrated by the inefficiencies and challenges I experienced due to manufacturing in L.A., and I felt compelled to create the new standard. In October 2018, I made the leap from shoe designer to factory-owner and CEO of my own Los Angeles-based footwear factory, Clover & Cobbler, creating the footwear factory I always wished existed as a designer.
Our aim at Clover & Cobbler is to breathe the life of a new generation into this beautiful, centuries-old craft. At the center of Clover & Cobbler are sustainability, creativity and an openness to brands large and small. We offer emerging designers and existing footwear brands a refreshed, organized approach to manufacturing in the U.S.A. Our goal is to redefine the perception of a long-standing industry and bring it into the modern-day with an emphasis on eco-conscious, mindful manufacturing!
Then, about six months after launching Clover & Cobbler, I was approached by shoe industry veteran and experienced footwear manufacturer, Bill Clark, who spent 25 years manufacturing shoes in Southern California with other brands. Bill introduced a new construction technique that expanded the capabilities of our factory, which in turn allowed us to collaborate on the creation of Californians.
SH: Why call yourselves "Californians"?
JJ: Co-founder Bill Clark and I are SoCal natives, both loving everything about what being a "Californian" means. Consequently, our Californians brand is inspired by the laid back culture of our Golden State. Our casual, boho-chic styles are vintage-inspired and reflect the era of California's Golden Age. Our footwear spans from beach-vibe flip-flops to cozy shearling clogs to metallic Hollywood glam heels. Outside of styling, our footwear is all handcrafted right in the heart of California, in our boutique, eco-friendly footwear factory in Los Angeles! What could be more Californian?
SH: What do your clients look like?
JJ: Our Californians customers are quite widespread! We launched our brand focusing on women's footwear but are so excited to have recently dropped our first men's collection! So far, our customers have predominantly been in California, as they have a connection to our brand name and, of course, the styling is very relevant. But our styles are more than just beachy warm-weather styles, our clogs, boots and shearling collection make our shoes suitable for all locations! We see this clearly as we are growing and expanding eastward pretty quickly and are already in many boutiques across the U.S.
In designing our shoes, we aim to strike the perfect balance of vintage-inspired newness. We want our shoes to spur conversation and evoke nostalgia, while still feeling current and fresh. In doing so, our collection ends up being truly cross-generational.
Additionally, we find that as soon as our shoes are on someone's feet and they sink into our ridiculously comfortable insoles, we generally have a loyal customer for life! This focus on combining style and comfort really does appeal to all ages, driving home our customer base of ladies from 20 to 65.
SH: Can any of the shearling shoes be worn outside, as well?
JJ: Yes, our shearling slippers are for indoor and outdoor wear! This was so important to us when designing our slipper collection. In order to master both comfort and practicality, each pair features genuine shearling and a super-soft foam midsole with a traction rubber outsole. We made it a point to choose an anti-slip rubber outsole that is soft and flexible for indoor, while offering lots of anti-slip traction ideal for outdoor wear, even in winter locations. It is clear that comfort is the top trend of 2020, and our slippers master both your cozy work-from-home outfit as well as your fashionable slippers making their way into streetwear and everyday fashion!
SH: What's your favorite product from the shearling collection?
JJ: I absolutely love our Felicity slippers! I usually prefer wearing thong-style sandals over slides, and the shearling straps are just so soft and comfortable. The leather footbed and proprietary cushioned midsole make them super breathable and just the right warmth for southern California evenings, year-round.
SH: When's the best time to wear shearling shoes?
JJ: In 2020, there's no wrong time to wear slippers! As we all know, this year is full of cozy at-home moments. With comfort being such a big trend right now, fashionable slippers can even be incorporated into your everyday looks! What's great about our collection, specifically, is that all of our slippers feature an open-back and open-toe design which offers just the right amount of breathability and warmth that will allow them to be your staple slipper year-round.
SH: Anything else you'd like to add?
JJ: At Californians, we hold sustainability at our core, upholding the utmost standards of respect for both the earth and its people. As environmentally and ethically conscious members of the fashion community, we've made it our priority to leave a positive footprint on the industry. By manufacturing in our own boutique factory in Los Angeles, we ensure that the manufacturing process itself and the environment we've created for our artisans upholds the core values of our brand. We feel it is our responsibility to make eco-conscious decisions every step of the way.
For example, we designed packaging that helps reduce waste and is completely recyclable. Our shoe boxes (also made in Los Angeles) are made from recycled cardboard and are printed with only water-based inks, which are less harsh on the environment, allowing them to be recycled again. Additionally, our shoes are made in small batches or made-to-order. By eliminating overproduction, we minimize our contribution to the fashion industry's waste. Similarly, we do whatever we can to minimize our material waste. Rather than throwing away our leather and materials scraps, we repurpose what we can internally (look out for some keychains coming soon!) and then pass along anything else to other businesses or local artisans who reuse the pieces for items such as bracelets and dog collars.
Love shoes as much as we do? Look HERE to learn all about the trendy brand, Billini.