After years at Global Brands Group, two veteran female executives were left without jobs after the company filed for Chapter 11 and sold off its assets late last year.
Jackie Gross, a former SVP of design, and Diana Gartland, a senior designer who was six months pregnant at the time, said working for yet another, male-dominated footwear company wasn’t so appealing. Taking matters into their own hands, the duo launched 3&Co Footwear shortly after being let go.
“Being pregnant, I knew it would be very difficult for me to find somewhere to go. Plus, we weighed our options, and we were tired of working for other people, and seeing brand after brand become unsuccessful,” explained Gartland.
With more than 30 years of experience in the shoe business, Gross was confident in her ability to launch her own business.
“We’re small, we can move and we are nimble. We just really saw a need in the market for a different approach to a shoe company, per se,” said Gross of the company, which provides design, development, and sourcing/production services as well as trend direction.
“We feel like as women, we also have different points of view about how we set ourselves up, what our company looks like. Women just work differently, we put in the work, but we also find ways to fit in our life and balance. That part was really is key to both of us. We just didn’t want to step back into a big company that is run by men. They have this certain way of having a hierarchy,” Gross said.
The duo works with a range of clients, from retailers to newly launched independent brands.
“We think we are niche because we can break ourselves down in any way that customer needs,” Gartland added, on what sets their business apart. “We can do smaller pairs, there’s more room for negotiating.” The company also has relationships with manufacturers in China, Europe and India.
It all comes down to the details, Gross said, noting that big companies with multiples brands and divisions can sometimes lose their point of view.
“It just feels like you’re making a lot of stuff, and trying to appease a lot people. And it comes down to money and how much are we growing. It’s not about the product,” she continued. “That’s what Diana and I want to do. We love what we do. We know we can make good products, and we want to do it in way with passion. That’s why we’re doing this.”