Beek Sandals is off to a small but speedy start.
Former co-workers Birgit Klett and Kenna Florie have gone out on their own with a collection of six handmade sandal looks featuring a signature molded arch. Produced in Guadalajara, Mexico, the brand, which launched for spring ’15, aims to offer product that showcases the craftsmanship behind each style.
“We couldn’t find leather sandals that were made in a more thoughtful and slow way, as opposed to mass-produced. We wanted styles that are simple and beautifully made,” said Klett, the line’s designer. “It takes two days to make every single sandal. We appreciate the time and effort.”
Klett’s passion comes from years of working for some impressive power players in the industry.
“I did not go to school to learn how to design, but my first mentor was Kenneth Cole. He took me on with no experience whatsoever and taught me how to sketch a shoe on a napkin,” she said. “I also worked for Sam Edelman [at Esprit], and he really helped me. I admire a lot of people in the business.”
Klett and Florie met when the two were working at juniors’ brand Roxy. Florie now handles the marketing for Beek and focuses on telling the brand’s story, which includes a charitable component. For every pair of sandals sold, the brand donates a meal to a child in need through partners such as Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine, Calif.
“We were really craving this feeling of breaking free from the confines of a bigger organization,” said Florie, adding that the Beek name comes from their first initials and alludes to a bird’s beak, used to feed it’s chicks. “The biggest thing for us is a feeling of freedom.”
Priced from $240 to $320, the sandals are currently available at 50 independent boutiques, including Amelie’s in Newport Beach, Calif., ABC Carpet & Home in New York and Lost & Found in Los Angeles.
Next, the brand plans to experiment with hand-woven, closed-toe constructions, but it won’t stray far from its roots. But it won’t stray far from its roots. “Our product will always be done in a very simple and effortless kind of way. That’s the lifestyle we live in Southern California,” said Florie.