Fashion – J.ARTOLA
We love bringing you some of the most dope brands & stores around the world. Holding things down in the indie fashion industry we’ve got a shoe brand based out of Brooklyn, New York by the name of J.ARTOLA. Now relax as we get to know J.ARTOLA a little more and how they started out in the industry.
Shoe line name: J.ARTOLA
City / State: Brooklyn, NY
Established date: June 2009
Price range for shoes: $195-$495
So tell us about yourself and your brand?
- I was born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. My passion for shoes started at an early age and soon it became an obsession. A couple of years after high school I moved to New York City and enrolled in the Accessories Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I graduated with a BFA degree and began my professional career designing shoes for various global brands such as Steve Madden, FRYE and Guess.
My fiancé and partner in crime Olga Grib was born in Kiev, Ukraine; she came to New York as a teenager and settled in Brooklyn with her family. She inherited passion for shoes from her parents, who met while working at a shoe factory in Kiev in the late 1970s. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BFA in Accessories Design, Olga pursued a career of buying, merchandising and product development with a few global fashion brands like Kenneth Cole and Tommy Hilfiger.
In 2002, during the second year of the Accessories Design program we were paired up to work on a senior exhibition project and have been inseparable ever since. Starting our line of shoes has always been a priority and after many years of experience in the industry, we took a leap of faith and launched our first men’s footwear collection under the J.ARTOLA® label for the autumn/winter 2010 season.
How did you come up with the name?
- It was one of the most difficult decisions to make because the name and logo are the identity of the company. There were many options but it all came down to making the brand personal so we agreed use my name, Jury Artola. The logo above the brand name is my initials “JA” upside down, it used to be my graffiti tag in the 90’s.
What best describes your line & who is it targeted to?
- J.ARTOLA® stands for a unique blend of creativity, quality and passion for artisan craftsmanship. Each collection consists of timeless design with a twist of fashion. All leathers and materials are hand selected to provide an exceptional authentic product. We show a great deal of respect for the environment by using recycled raw materials for the packaging. Our vision for J.ARTOLA® is to build a sustainable global lifestyle brand, deliver consistent quality products, help the environment, give back to the local community and above all, have a great time doing it!
The guy who has responded to our line is someone in the creative field such as fashion, music and design. He is someone who appreciates a well-crafted product with subtle details that’s made to last a lifetime.
What influenced you to start this line?
- I’ve been drawing shoes since I was 12 and after college it became a goal to start a line of shoes. I was also lucky to meet a like-minded person in my fiancé who has supported this decision. Working with various shoe companies allowed me to travel the world and gain knowledge in the industry. I quickly found out that working for someone else just didn’t feel right and on top of that it stifles the creative mind. By starting my own company I’m able to design what I like with no restrictions. It’s a great feeling to finally be independent. I recommend to anyone out there who has the urge to branch out on their own to stop thinking too much and just go for it!
How is your brand different from others out there?
- There are brands out there that focus on dress type footwear, others are high fashion runway and yet others are strictly vintage. J.ARTOLA® was created to cater to different tastes and live styles. We integrated these three groups into our brand and each of our collections represents versatile footwear for all lifestyles. Since comfort is a big factor for us guys, we added extra padding on all of our shoes.
Are there any challenges you run into while running a business?
- With countless challenges there’s never a dull moment in the shoe business. Being a small company we have to manage a tight cash flow and make sure production is out on time with consistent quality. One of greatest challenges we run into is getting retail buyers to take a chance on an emerging brand. I think the key is to be patient and keep making fresh shoes, they will take notice at the right time. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, we’re in it for the long haul.
What ways did you find promoting your brand worked?
- We’ve found that a word of mouth is the best way to promote the brand. There are too many commercials and advertisement around us, we have all become tone-def to them. Reaching out on a personal level is what has worked best for us. Blogs such as FKN Famous give us that voice and help us reach out to like-minded people.
Are there any future plans for your line?
- We are planning to launch a Women’s line for the Spring/Summer 2013 season. We are also expanding our bag collection with cool new styles. There are a few more concepts brewing in the kitchen…stay tuned.
How did you hear about FKN Famous & what do you think of us?
- A friend of mine recommended this blog because it gives a platform to new talent and unique products. I was hooked on the blog from the start and have become a frequent reader.
Any last shout outs?
- In 2011, J.ARTOLA® was recognized as a Rising Star by the Fashion Group International. Our son was born on the day the awards took place and having our own business took on a whole new meaning. I would like to thank everyone in the factory for their hard work and dedication, our families for their unconditional support and to all those people out there that took a chance on buying a shoe from an unknown brand. Peace.
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