Why a Leading Manufacturer of Photo Albums and Wallets Is Getting Into Baby Shoes

Newcomer Chérubin is bringing an artisanal approach to the baby-shoe market.

Launched last May, the brand is the creation of Eric Scott, a leading manufacturer of small leather goods such as wallets, photo albums and motorcycle saddlebags. Based in Sainte Geneviève, Missouri — a small French settlement town along the Mississippi River that’s known for its leather-craft tradition — the 32-year-old company operates an on-site factory staffed with artisans who hand-sew each pair of Chérubin shoes.

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A style from Chérubin’s current collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

“Internally, we are always seeking new opportunities,” said Christine Hoog, Chérubin’s creative director. “We were looking for ways to connect with the direct-to-consumer market, and baby shoes seemed like a great fit.”

The collection features soft-sole moccasins, T-straps and Mary Jane styles, all priced at $38. The simple silhouettes put the focus on the brand’s striking prints, which range from peppermint-stick stripes to Navajo blanket patterns. Chérubin’s leathers are sourced exclusively from U.S. tanneries, among them Chicago-based Horween.

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A striped moccasin style from Chérubin.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

“We have a unique process here that allows us to print anything imaginable on full-grain leather,” Hoog noted. “Creatively, there are no limitations whatsoever — the sky is the limit. And because we do our own on-demand manufacturing, we have the ability to constantly explore and experiment.”

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A scalloped style from the current collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

To keep the collection fresh and bring in new points of view, Chérubin plans to partner with different guest artists. Textile designer Trenna Travis produced the inaugural collections, and last month the brand debuted a collaboration with Cheree Berry Paper, a St. Louis-based custom stationery firm whose clients include Chelsea Clinton, Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper.

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A polka-dot pair from the Cheree Berry Paper collaboration.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

For easy gift giving, Chérubin packages its shoes in cloth bags stamped with a fleur-de-lis icon, reflecting Sainte Geneviève’s French roots. In addition to selling through its own e-commerce site, the brand plans to open up wholesale distribution this year. “We’re targeting those smaller local boutiques where moms and grandmothers shop,” Hoog said.

Check out Chérubin’s complete collection here.

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