Justin Jeffers is joining a growing number of young fashion-minded entrepreneurs by selling shoes direct-to-consumer.
Jeffers, who launched Jaybutler.com in November 2014, offers classic bit-trim mocs and penny loafers. All of the footwear is produced in Mexico and retails for $145 to $175.
Before the 28-year-old launched his collection, Jeffers worked in accounting. But his passion for fashion spilled out via his blog, The Fine Young Gentleman, which often included resources for affordably priced apparel and accessories.
“I wanted to dress well, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money,” he said. Jeffers discovered he wasn’t alone — he began noticing a range of online sites popping up offering men these options. “I needed a basic loafer, and I love the Gucci horsebit style,” he said of his decision to home in on the category, “It was a look I was comfortable wearing.”
Jeffers, who self-financed the venture, said he decided to source goods from Mexico after attending Sourcing at MAGIC in August, where he met representatives from a Mexican trade organization. The country’s proximity to the U.S., coupled with its manufacturing options, sparked Jeffers’ choice.
With his men’s shoe collection under way, Jeffers is now answering requests from female friends to add women’s bags to his offering, with a collection due out in November. He also noted, however, that select styles of his men’s footwear start at size 4 — the equivalent of a women’s 6 — making them an option for women as well as men.
For 2016, Jeffers plans to add a series of men’s Goodyear-welted styles and is also considering expanding into wholesale.