This post was originally published March 2014. I wanted to share a current update.
I want to personally apologize to anyone I convinced to back this Kickstarter project. I’m deeply saddened to report that it appears that this project was a scam. Octavia Dosier, has gone M.I.A. – and no one who backed this project has received their rewards. What initially was just excuses has turned in to mass deception. Multiple backers have requested refunds, but M+J haven’t followed through on that either. Kickstarter is also of no help, saying they can’t get in between disputes and suggest backers take legal action against M+J. (Although Kickstater got their fees!… But that’s another story and another complaint!)
I always want to believe the best in people and I wanted to give them adequate time to respond and follow through on their promises. It’s been close to a year now since the project was funded. I know in manufacturing sometimes things get beyond your control and deadlines take longer than expected. But this has gotten to the point where it’s obviously not just manufacturing delays….
I truly love companies that are commited to Made in USA. I also love giving new entrepreneurs a helping hand through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. I’m completely heartbroken by this.
I was scammed as much as the rest of the backers. I now only back and promote companies on Kickstarter that I know and trust. Which is sad, and I’m sorry. It’s not in the original spirit of Kickstarter, but it has become the nature of the beast. People will always take advantage of other’s good will. I know there are lots of reputable companies giving Kickstarter a go, and it has been a great resource for many. I’ve backed many of them myself!
Unfortunately this project has truly put a bad taste in my mouth. It’s sad how one rotten apple has spoiled the whole bunch.
Anyways, thanks for commenting. I hope you’ll continue to support Made in USA, and continue reading Modestics!
<<Posted March 3, 2014>>
*There are many reasons why I love MALVIN + JOYCE. For starters, they were one of my first followers on Twitter. (You never forget your first.) And over the years of tweeting back and forth, I’ve learned that Malvin + Joyce’s owner, Octavia Dorsier, is genuinely passionate and supportive of all things American Made. She’s also extremely humble and modest in her accomplishments. – When I asked her for a profile pic for this article, she asked, “Is it possible to use a group photo instead of a single profile pic? We have a slew of interns and people that are really helping to bring this vision to life.” – I can really appreciate someone who gives credit where credit is due. That’s why I’m giving credit to Octavia as this week’s Maker. Maker of Men’s Boots and Footwear, made in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Modestics: Tell us about MALVIN + JOYCE.
Octavia Dosier for MALVIN + JOYCE: Malvin + Joyce is a footwear brand that’s been designing and crafting small batch runs of American Made & Inspired work boots since 2012. We use the very best American sourced materials for those who can appreciate a well crafted American Made boot. We sell direct to the customer avoiding mark-ups and middleman costs.
MO: Where did the name come from?
M+J: The name is a combination of our parents names that represents where we came from and the life lessons we learned from grandparents, great grandparents. The history and character of hard work those names represent. Where we came from and how we grew up.
Our grandfathers worked in the shoe and candy factories in Chicago and we knew the quality of craftsmanship that could be achieved. They helped build those industries and some even wore the same boots the MALVIN + JOYCE brand is inspired by. We wanted to create a brand inspired by that heritage. All the styles in the collection are named for streets, people or neighborhoods in our hometown of Chicago. A tribute to the strong, honest and hardworking folks of Chicago. American Inspired. American Crafted. American Made.
MO: How did you start Malvin + Joyce?
M+J: We actually started manufacturing shoes in 2009 when we became a footwear licensee for a popular brand at the time. It was a very interesting endeavor and it was a trial by fire experience. We learned a lot about what we did and didn’t want for our brand. We were manufacturing that brand in Brazil. As we continued along, we learned a lot about ourselves and some very important lessons. One, that we wanted to create our own independent brand. So many things as a licensee has to be approved through a very tangled company system. We couldn’t be as creative as we wanted. Two, we decided there had to be a way to create the type of footwear we envisioned and do it in America. In 2011, after several visits to Brazil, the distance, the increasing production quantities, the language barrier stress, the customs and import process all reached an all time stressful high, I knew I was done with the license. I wanted a brand where I could work directly with the manufacturer that was close to home. We spent an entire year researching vendors and visiting factories. We found a factory that we wanted to work with and they wanted to work with us. MALVIN + JOYCE was born and we did a small batch production run of 120 pair of boots, which we sold out of very quickly.
MO: Why was starting a American made company important to you?
M+J: With the USA economy taking such a hit and American’s losing jobs at an alarming rate, we were determined to do our part and manufacture and source our brand domestically. We thought about the impact our purchasing dollars could make on the American economy and understood that every time we buy something Made in America, we put our friends and neighbors back to work. We started working to find vendors that were left hanging by huge companies for overseas manufacturing opportunities. They understood our vision. We wanted to create a brand as resilient as those rebelling along with us. Over the next year we researched how we could craft our collection right here in the USA.
MO: When did you feel like you were a “real company”?
M+J: When we realized we couldn’t do it all and hire a part-time production coordinator! That meant we were growing and the thought of having an employee made us stop and say we’re creating jobs. Even that small contribution. We felt responsible and more dedicated to producing the brand in the USA.
MO: What aspect of your job do you love?
M+J: I honestly love visiting the tannery, Horween, in Chicago and seeing the numerous leathers and watching the process! I also like working in the sample development room at the factory. Seeing the process from the paper come alive.
MO: What was the first thing you made?
M+J: A leather belt. We had some scrap leather left over from a production and I took the leather scraps for reference samples. I started playing around with the hardware and leather scraps and made a very cool belt. (at least in my mind)
MO: Do you, yourself make your products or do you have factories that you work with?
M+J: We work with a factory in Wisconsin. The factory we’re working with is family owned/operated. The factory is over 75 years old and as an employee-owned company, the craftsmen work hard to provide the absolute best, most comfortable and premium boots around.
MO: What is your favorite Made in USA product?
M+J: We love Billy Reid and Imogene + Willie. They are doing some amazing work and every season I can’t wait to see what they do next. Also Kalamazoo Gourmet Grills…now that’s a thing of beauty!
MO: Do you have a special interests?
M+J: Since we started the collection we’ve really gotten into ancestry research and the history of the city of Chicago. We’re spending a lot of time researching and going to the city archives. We have some great ideas for the future.
MO: Any memorable on the job work injuries / close calls?
M+J: Because we have a factory partner we don’t really have anything to do with the actual production..but once when we were visiting the factory I was so engrossed in what the workers were doing, I walked into once of the machines and hit my head. They make me wear protective gear now!
Want your very own American crafted work boots? Support MALVIN + JOYCE and American made and contribute to their current Kickstarter project. I backed them and look forward to the reward, of not only the boots, but also continue watching thier version of the American Dream.