By Sara Holzman published
Aside from the opening of Loeffler Randall's first-ever boutique in downtown Manhattan, Jessie Randall, recalls another big milestone in life: her wedding. Designing the fully customized event in 2003, pre-Pinterest, was in a way the catalyst to opening her own business (she even designed her own wedding dress). "My husband Brian [Murphy] and I met working in advertising and we had been toying with the idea of starting our own company. When we were able to self-produce this complicated event successfully, it encouraged us to take the leap to start our own brand together," she explains. With Randall's background in fashion design and sculpture and a devotion for hunting down and wearing vintage shoes, the two entrepreneurs (with Jessie as designer and Brian, the head of business) dreamt up a small collection of footwear in their New York apartment and sent it off to Italy to be manufactured. After receiving their first prototypes, luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman picked up the line, laying the groundwork for future collections.
Now, 17 years later, the duo is still going. They've added a full ready-to-wear collection to their repertoire for Spring '22 and they're setting their sites on a second brick-and-mortar location. Here, Randall tells us about her vast shoe collection and explains why she's feeling more inspired now than ever before.
Her Morning Routine:
It's quite hectic and, to be honest, I'm not a morning person, so I try to sleep in as long as humanly possible. These days, it's all about getting my three children, who go to three different schools, out of the door. I sneak in a shower while my littlest one is getting ready. I wait at the bus with him and then I head towards the subway. We have a content creation studio in Industry City [in Brooklyn], so my husband Brian and I go over there to help with prop styling for shoots. Sometimes I'll go up to the floral district to refresh the flowers in our store on Prince Street.
Her Getting Dressed Strategy:
There's usually a pair of shoes that I'm really excited about and I tend to build my outfit around that. I've been really into chunky boots lately or I'll wear our chunky Judd fisherman sandals with a sock. I tend to re-wear a lot of my clothes, but each season I'll invest in a couple of really special things. I love to have a really amazing coat this time of year. It can be such a great bang for your buck—you end up wearing it so much.
I've also been loving the look of a utility pant— they're so casual and cool. I never want to be too dressed up. I'll pair those with a frilly blouse or a sweater. We actually make these amazing puff sleeves sweaters and their sales contribute to the American Civil Liberties Union. I love that sweater. I have it in every color.
On Her Aesthetic:
I love natural raw materials like wools, leathers, and cotton. I also gravitate towards pieces that have a special element to it—like a unique stitching. I love to see the care that's gone into the creation of whatever I'm wearing. I find comfort in that.
I'm drawn to small companies where there's a story behind the products. That really speaks to me. I've actually been finding a lot of smaller brands on Instagram lately.
On Her Shoe Collection:
It's huge. It's all Loeffler Randall. We turned my shoe closet into a bedroom for my youngest son when he was born, so now I have the tiniest closet and there are shoes everywhere. I tend to keep the five or six pairs of shoes that I wear the most by our front door. I get excited about a new shoe—right now it's our ballerina flat—but I tend to keep past season's shoes in the rotation as well. I just love the way shoes make people feel. They can be very emotional. I've always wanted to create shoes that are worn year after year and that are meant to stay in your closet forever.
On Feeling Inspired:
I think you can get really inspired by just staying where you are. We designed some of our best products over the past year-and-a-half. We introduced our first slipper and now it's one of our best selling pieces.
Having some time to be creative outside of the job ended up making me more creative in my job, but I'm excited to think about traveling again. My team and I used to travel to get inspired and we haven't done that in two years. I'm excited about the possibility of doing more of that.
Shop Some of Jessie's Favorite Pieces:
Sara Holzman is the Fashion Editor at Marie Claire covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to.
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