A growing sameness in styles paired with increasingly cautious retailers drove shoe designer Angilina Taylor to put her foot down. Some two years later, the Carbondale resident and her husband, Mike, launched their own company, 5028, which debuted online in September. (The company name comes from the Santa Barbara street address of Angilina’s grandparents, whom she calls a big influence in her life.)
Combining elements of Kickstarter with the craze for artisan goods, 5028 (weare5028.com) introduces two new shoe styles on the website every Monday—one men’s, one women’s. You then have up to a week to pledge buying a pair before the offer expires. If the production minimum is met (about 150 pairs per style), the shoes are crafted at factories in Spain and Portugal. Six to eight weeks later, a limited-edition, numbered pair shows up at your door.
“I’ve watched the footwear business change so much,” says Angilina, who studied fashion design, then worked her way up the ranks at Teva, Oakley, The North Face, and Ahnu before becoming director of design for the shoemaker Taos. “Retailers have found the brands they feel safe with, and it’s harder for smaller brands to get into stores. Plus, the retailers have to commit to orders so far in advance that the interesting stuff was getting diluted.”
With 5028, the Taylors aim to offer a diverse group of “classic designs with a modern twist,” from high heels to boots to casual kicks (all at $150–$200, with $5 from every sale donated to mental health programs).
Currently, Angilina and Mike run the fledgling company (funded by their savings), with the help of several contract employees. In addition to online sales, 5028 plans to hold pop-up events in various cities nationwide to sell excess inventory after returns and exchanges are processed.
In addition to giving shoe lovers the chance to stand out from the crowd, 5028’s small-batch business model allows the company to respond quickly to trends and other market-influencing factors. Plus, Angilina touts the ethic of producing only what’s needed. “The amount of shoes that gets thrown out is pretty crazy,” she says. “We’ll be making just what people actually want.”
Sounds like a shoe-in.