A glance inside the closets of well-heeled women everywhere 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 shoes, accessories, and ready-to-wear collections.
Jessie Randall and Brian Murphy launched Loeffler Randall in 2004 from their garden apartment in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Nearly 20 years and three children later, they are 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 Loeffler Randall team designs a line they want to wear themselves. They understand the needs of their customers—women leading busy lives who want to invest in high-quality products that can take them from school drop-off to a business meeting to an evening event 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 one pair—from the fabric being sent to the pleater to the hand-tied bow. Beautiful, handcrafted products take time to make, and this is one of the reasons Loeffler Randall limits production with the hope products will sell out.
Loeffler Randall’s pieces are among the favorites in 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 keen consumer insights of Murphy, company CEO and Loyola Academy alum.
Randall and Murphy sat down with Sheridan Road to share more about Loeffler Randall and what it’s like to run a fashion business with your spouse.
How did the two of you meet?
Randall: We met in the late ‘90s at my first job in advertising. Even though we met in New York City, we found out his family is from my hometown in Massachusetts.
What background prepared you for running a fashion brand?
Randall: I got a strong education in fashion working for corporations like Gap Inc., and Brian and I learned a lot about marketing from our advertising jobs. The agency where we met, Fallon, had a wonderful, family-type atmosphere and we learned so much there about building a company.
Where did the idea for Loeffler Randall come from? Did the two of you create it together?
Randall: We did come up with the concept together. I designed our first collection and Brian cut up our wedding program and placed it in the footbed of a prototype for one of our shoes with the name of the company—Loeffler Randall, my middle and last names.
How has the brand evolved since it began?
Randall: The aesthetic of our brand 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 the two of you?
Randall: I oversee 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.
What’s it like working with your spouse? Any advice for those considering it?
Randall: I always say that I don’t really recommend it, but it has worked for us. We try very hard not to talk about work on the weekends. But it has been nice to work on a shared goal all these years and to be so connected.
Anything you wish you knew when you started the company that you know now? Anything you would do differently?
Randall: So many things I would do differently—too many to list. But we can’t go back. We just have to evolve and adapt and learn from mistakes. And many of the things we didn’t know actually helped us. We didn’t realize all the things that could go wrong and that was a good thing.
For holiday wear, 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 carried into the Loeffler Randall brand? Anything you miss about living in Chicago?
Murphy: Living in Chicago gave me a sense of humor, a Midwestern candor and ethos—we don’t take ourselves too seriously. I really miss Chicago sports. Desperately at times.
For more information, visit loefflerrandall.com.