Shoesday Tuesday: Designer Spotlight Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall
Jessie Ajluni | Tuesday May 23rd 2017
What do you get when timeless elegance meets cool, effortless style? That would be shoe and handbag label Loeffler Randall. I’ve long been a huge fan of the brand, lusting after the new confections that Creative Director Jessie Randall creates each season. So, when the opportunity arose to pick her brain about all things fashion, work life balance, and what to get from the latest spring collection I naturally leapt at the chance.
When did you first decide to start Loeffler Randall and how did you come up with the name?
The name is my middle and last names. When we were thinking of the brand name, we had recently gotten married and my husband cut up our wedding program and laid the names in the footbed of a shoe and said “That’s the name of the brand.” People always have a hard time with the pronunciation – it’s actually pronounced “Lef-ler” – no “o” sound. Brian and I started the company many years ago when I couldn’t find the kind of shoes I wanted to wear and that felt like a natural extension of my own style. I designed a collection, we went over to Italy and found a factory. We sold into Bergdorf Goodman our first season. It was a whirlwind and so exciting.
Did you always want to design accessories?
Shoes have always been my first love, even since I was a little girl. Being able to become a shoe designer was just too big of a dream for me to even verbalize at a younger age, I think. But slowly I got the confidence to say I can do this.
What are some of the difficulties you faced early in your career?
A wise friend in the biz once said to me “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” And when something happens that I’m not happy about, I always remind myself of that quote and it calms me. Being in this business is about persevering and never giving up and doing something that I believe in and that comes from the heart.
Working along side your husband creating the business was it ever hard to juggle work-life balance? If so, what are some ways you’ve found to cope?
Well we are next to each other 24 hours a day. We even share an office. The biggest, most important thing for our sanity has been agreeing not to discuss work out of the office. Sometimes we don’t stick to this rule 100%, but it’s definitely a goal. Being able to clearly define family time vs work time is very important.
If you could describe the aesthetic of the brand in three words what would they be?
Confident and creative
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration, source materials, etc…
I find inspiration everywhere – I’m always looking. I look at art, crafts, photos, furniture, raw materials, colors, everything that’s around me. I usually start with a color palette and some raw materials that are inspiring me and go from there. I love to look at old photographs and investigate craft techniques. I also always try to have a craft project going on the side that has nothing to do with my work. It helps my creativity flow. Right now I am knitting a baby dress.
Now in the age of social media, how do you feel like it impacts a business and what ways do you feel the brand embraces it?
I love Instagram. We don’t try to focus on every social media channel but we focus on the ones that resonate most with us personally and that is Instagram. I find so many of the things that inspire me or new brands I love or interesting artists through Instagram these days. I love that my feed is curated by me and I get to see all this beauty. Instagram has been very important for our brand and our following has really grown through the use of this technology. It’s allowed us to share the 360 degree expression of our brand with more people than we were ever able to in the past.
What do you think women should look for when investing in a quality shoes or handbags?
Beautiful, natural raw materials are so important, as is the quality of the craftsmanship. Our designs aren’t meant to be trendy. They are products designed to be on-trend but also timeless. These are items we want you to wear today and three years from now and have them look just as beautiful and feel just as relevant as the day you bought them.
What trends do you see coming up in accessories?
I love that accessory designs have become more wearable and comfortable and easy lately – from flats to lower heels to bags that are simple and chic. I love designing products that are chic and elegant but also easy to wear –the kinds of things that become the things you live your life in. It’s a wonderful moment where there is a boldness to accessory designs and women feel confident to take more fashion risks, but also, they feel more confident to dress for themselves instead of for anyone else.
What are some of your favorite pieces from your current collection?
I love our Coco mules in velvet. I couldn’t decide which color to get – the watermelon or the navy or the mustard color. I want them all. And I also love our palest pink curly shearling fur slides and bags.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
I think it’s the things about us that are different that make us most interesting. So I would say that embracing what makes us each unique is the key to having a more stylish life.