Enjoy our guest blogger Judy Thorne's story about her friend Juliette Bench. I spotted these fun summer nautical flip flops on Judy's Facebook page last week, and could not resist asking her if she'd like to write something up for our coastal readers.
Knot your Typical Flip Flop!
Knot your Typical Flip Flop!
There she was in
Reaching into her bag, Juliette Bench pulled out a sailor’s knot bracelet, a circle of white cotton knotted rope just like the ones she and her cousins wore as kids summering on the cape. It reminded her of simpler times, vacations, sailing, swimming, the beach and summer. It was then that she was inspired to use the familiar knot design to walk away from her career as a
New York shoe designer
and create Cape Cod Shoe Supply Co.
A graduate of
University, Juliette worked in New York City for more
than 10 years designing shoes and accessories for large firms such as Kate
Spade and Tommy Hilfiger. “I loved my career, but I felt exhausted,” she
says. “I had just started going to Cape Cod
regularly again and started to think of the different ways I could make a life
there. But I wanted to keep on designing shoes – it’s one of my passions and I
think sometimes I was born to do it.”
That sailor’s knot bracelet became Juliette’s inspiration for a line of preppy, nautical flip-flop sandals that incorporate the iconic design. It also was her ticket out of
With $50,000 in savings and a year’s worth of free rent at her parents’
Cape Cod summer home, Juliette
first founded a freelance consultant/design service in early 2011 for part-time
income; she landed assignments with Taryn Rose, Sperry Top-Sider, Adrienne
Vittadini and other footwear manufacturers. A few months later, she created her
As a female entrepreneur, Juliette is part of the fastest-growing group of small-business owners, according to the website www.entrepreneur.com. The 2012 “State of
from American Express Open, based on U.S.
Census data, reports that women own nearly a third of all businesses (29
percent), but they bring in only 4 percent of all U.S.
revenue and provide just 6 percent of all jobs. Still, women own 8.3
million businesses in the U.S.
and employ 7.7 million persons. And there has been a 54 percent increase in the
number of women-owned businesses and an increase of 58 percent in revenue in
the past 15 years. U.S.
Coaching made the difference for Juliette. Juliette found that her design experience and savings weren’t enough, and she needed a mentor who could advise her and would back her financially. Unlike many entrepreneurs, Juliette was able to turn to her uncle, Richard Harrington, chairman of a venture capital firm, who helped her create a business plan and cash-flow projection. She says he was her sounding board and reality check. Once Juliette had flip-flop samples in hand, he decided to invest in her company.
Juliette says, “Getting my flip flops sold in stores and having them sell out in days” is her greatest accomplishment so far. “And seeing someone on the street that I don’t know wearing them is a surreal experience.”
Cape Cod flip
flops are available in retail stores or online at www.capecodshoesupply.com. She’s
also on Facebook and Pinterest.
I will be buying a pair! Now to just choose the right color.....
Thanks to my friend Judy for the great entrepreneurial story! Being a fellow woman-owned business, I can understand and appreciate Juliette's journey to building a successful business. Especially since her business, like ours, is built around embracing a lifestyle beside the ocean.
P.S. You can find Judy's fabulous beach creations on our site!