I had the pleasure of interviewing Jodi, the owner of the up and coming web shop Justshoesforkids.com. Officially open since July of this year, they mainly carry hard to find European brands plus others from around the world with more brands to come! It was exciting having a conversation with someone who was so familiar with many of the brands I love but have a hard time finding here in the USA. As a special treat for my readers she is offering 15% off the entire store with coupon code EuroChic until December 31st which is great since Christmas is just around the corner (can you believe it!).
So tell us a little about yourself.
I’m just a mom that fell in love with buying kid’s shoes. I stumbled across this industry a few years ago when I was a corporate buyer working in New York City. I already had one child and I was pregnant with my second. The company was starting a new division and there was nobody slated to work on the kid’s team. I told my manager that I was the most qualified since I had kids and we lived in the suburbs, and he agreed. I fell in love with buying kid’s shoes. It combined my passion for fashion, my fancy business degrees, and a great group of people in the industry.
What made you want to open up an online children’s shoe shop?
I am a shopping addict. I love finding new and interesting brands (the kind you can’t find everywhere). I could window shop for hours. BUT…I HATED going into the shoe store with my sons. The meltdowns were horrible, but I didn’t want that to stop me from getting shoes that I love. I created a website made for busy moms that love fashion. We have free shipping and free returns and carry brands that you might not find everywhere else. You can order the shoes when it is convenient for you, and return whatever doesn’t work. Our customer service is top notch. We get all sorts of questions and requests from our customers- “Can you measure the shoe?” “Can you tell me how these fit?” “Do you have this shoe but in red sparkle?” And we do our best to answer every question and be as helpful as possible. I like to think of justshoesforkids.com as your local boutique but online.
You mainly focus on European brands, any particular reason why?
We focus on great quality, stylish footwear, and so we carry a lot of European brands. The craftsmanship is remarkable, and there is a long history of making shoes. Many of the factories are family-owned and have been making shoes for decades. We have big plans to bring in even more brands from Europe, but we do carry shoes from other parts of the world too.
Do you have any children? How do they influence your work?
I have two adorable sons, ages 7 and 4. They were the inspiration for starting Justshoesforkids.com. Both of my sons have autism, and we donate $1 per pair to ELIJA- an autism foundation. And a lot of our policies are driven by my own need for flexibility and excellent customer service.
What is your favorite shoe brand and why?
I couldn’t possibly pick just one favorite brand. I love them all. And we buy shoes from some amazing people. Cienta has been a family-owned business in Arnedo, Spain for over 30 years. They are some of the most warm and friendly people you will ever meet. I think their eco-conscious initiatives are inspiring. Their Mary Janes are classics, and my best sellers. http://justshoesforkids.com/products/56013-navy-sparkle
Igor is another family-owned business. They are in Alicante, and their designs are cutting-edge and they get better every season. Their use of color is amazing. Igor jellies are a must-have for summer and the rain boots are perfect for winter. I have a huge crush on the Campera Charol rain boot (the boot Leyla is wearing.) http://justshoesforkids.com/products/w114-red
Old Soles is an Australian brand, and the designers are wonderful people to work with. My youngest son was a very early walker at 9 and a half months. It was important to me that I find shoes that were flexible for foot health and also able to be worn outside. I think Old Soles is the leader in this area. I will always remember Old Soles as my youngest son’s first pair of shoes. You can find a newer version of them on our website now- http://justshoesforkids.com/collections/boys-shoes/products/030-navy
What trends are we seeing this A/W 2015 collections in children’s shoes?
We are seeing a lot of metallics - silver, gold, copper. The gem tones are irresistible- burgundy and navy are two of our best colors.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
There are a lot of rewarding aspects of my job. I love speaking to moms and helping them find the right shoes for their children. I love buying shoes for the website. (Shopping as a job is amazing.) And I am kind of a tech nerd, so I love working with our website developers to create the website. My job involves the artistry of fashion and the strategic and analytical skills of running a business. What’s not to love? As far as challenges, the hardest part is balancing everything between work and family. I just wish there were more hours in the day. So much to do, and so little time.
Any advice to parents when it comes to picking out shoes for their kids?
My biggest advice is to make sure the shoes fit properly. I completely understand that is easier said than done. I had to tackle my kids to the ground to get them to put on new shoes, and it’s really hard to tell if they fit if your kids are kicking and screaming. Measure the best you can, but know that each style of shoe fits a bit differently. Send us an email at email@example.com and we will give you our best advice. We have free shipping and free returns, so if the shoes don’t fit, your child doesn’t like them, or you just changed your mind, it’s free.