A peek inside the closets of well-heeled women around the world is sure to reveal a pair of Loeffler Randall’s Penny Pleated Bow Heels.
Loeffler Randall, the lifestyle brand behind this iconic shoe, has taken the world by storm, outfitting fashion lovers everywhere with their beautiful footwear, accessories and ready-to-wear collections.
Jessie Randall and Brian Murphy started Loeffler Randall in 2004 from their garden apartment in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Nearly 20 years and three children later, they’re still doing what they love: making distinctive products in small batches with great attention to detail. They design pieces that are meant to be loved and worn for seasons to come.
From their beautiful studio in Soho, New York, the team at Loeffler Randall designs a line they want to wear themselves. They understand the needs of their customers – women with busy lives who want to invest in high quality products that can take them from back to school to a business meeting to a night out and everything in between.
Loeffler Randall believes that design should be distinctive and original. In each pair of their beloved signature heels, there are 400 pleats. In fact, 28 steps go into making a pair, from the fabric sent to the hand-tied bow pleater. Beautiful, handcrafted products take time to make, and that’s one of the reasons Loeffler Randall limits production in hopes the products will sell.
Loeffler Randall’s pieces are favorites of North Shore boutiques like Winnetka’s Bunny & Babe and Lake Forest’s Lillie Alexander. The brand’s local popularity is due in part to the consumer insight of Murphy, the company’s CEO and Loyola Academy alumnus.
Randall and Murphy sat down with Sheridan Road to learn more about Loeffler Randall and what it’s like to run a fashion business with your spouse.
How did you two meet?
Randall: We met in the late 90s at my first job in advertising. Even though we met in New York, we found out that his family is from my hometown in Massachusetts.
What background prepared you to lead a fashion brand?
Randall: I got a solid education in fashion working for companies like Gap Inc., and Brian and I learned a lot about marketing through our advertising jobs. The agency where we met, Fallon, had a wonderful family atmosphere and we learned a lot about building a business there.
Where did Loeffler Randall’s idea come from? Did you both create it?
Randall: We came up with the concept together. I designed our first collection and Brian cut out our wedding program and placed it in the sole of a prototype for one of our shoes with the company name – Loeffler Randall, my middle name and my last name.
How has the brand evolved since its inception?
Randall: Our brand aesthetic has been consistent since day one. What has evolved is the size of the business, our expansion into other categories and the opening of our first store.
What is the division of labor between you two?
Randall: I oversee the design and Brian runs the business. We both work on marketing and that’s where we butt heads – ha! But seriously, this division of responsibilities has been critical to our success. We trust each other to own the two different parts of the business.
How is it to work with your spouse? Any advice for those considering it?
Randall: I always say I don’t really recommend it, but it worked for us. We try very hard not to talk about weekend work. But it’s been nice working on a common goal all these years and being so connected.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you started the business you know now? What would you do differently?
Randall: There are so many things I would do differently, too many to list. But we cannot go back. We just have to evolve, adapt and learn from our mistakes. And a lot of things that we didn’t know really helped us. We didn’t realize all the things that could go wrong and that was a good thing.
For the holidays, what are your favorite pieces?
Randall: I love our expansion into ready-to-wear – our quilted pieces and fun dresses – as well as our “wow” heels.
Brian, are there any North Shore influences in the Loeffler Randall brand? Do you miss something about life in Chicago?
Murphy: Living in Chicago gave me a sense of humor, candor and a Midwestern ethos – you don’t take yourself too seriously. I really miss Chicago sports. Desperately sometimes.
For more information, visit loefflerrandall.com.