In 2017, Jordan Clark was living abroad in Amsterdam and working from home when she grew frustrated with the lack of supportive and fashionable house shoes.
“I realized I was tired of having to choose between wearing ugly, unsupportive slippers and sneakers to be comfortable on my feet at home. I tried shopping in stores and online and couldn’t find anything that combined style and actual foot support—so I decided to create it,” Jordan said.
Jordan launched Dooeys and trademarked “slipshoes,” speaking to the brand’s stepped-up style over traditional slippers. Being kind to the planet is at the heart of the Dooeys. The footwear is crafted from plant-based and recycled materials, including durable apple-skin leather, sugarcane EVA soles and linings made from recycled plastic bottles. Jordan designs in Seattle, and craftspeople at an ethically run factory in Portugal manufacture the shoes. You can learn more about Jordan and Dooeys in our interview below.
Artisan Joy: How did you get started designing house shoes?
Jordan Clark: After moving to Amsterdam in 2017, I started working from home. At the time, I knew I wanted to make a career change to doing something more creative, but I didn’t know what. As I transitioned to working from home, I realized I was tired of having to choose between wearing ugly, unsupportive slippers and sneakers to be comfortable on my feet at home. I tried shopping in stores and online and couldn’t find anything that combined style and actual foot support—so I decided to create it.
AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your idea into a business?
JC: I knew I wanted to start a full-time business as soon as I came up with the idea. Already sensing I wanted a career change and then coming up with this idea that I couldn’t get out of my head—it became clear I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration?
JC: I find inspiration from traveling, art and interior design. I love exploring different color combinations and seeing how so many unique pieces of furniture and decor come together to create a home. I strive to create comfortable house shoes that will tie in with any home.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
JC: I have no prior experience in the fashion industry. I worked in startups and management consulting before starting Dooeys and learned everything I know as I went from books, podcasts, building relationships and experience.
AJ: As creatives, we can continuously create and refine our art. How do you handle perfectionism?
JC: I look at each production run we do as an opportunity to refine or create something new. Whether it’s a new style or color of house shoes or fine-tuning a material in our house shoes, I’m always iterating. From the very beginning, I had to train myself to make the best product I could, knowing it wouldn’t be the same product we’d have in the market a few years down the road. You have to start somewhere.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone interested in putting their work out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?
JC: Anything that’s worth doing is going to be uncomfortable. You have to put yourself out there—there’s no going around it. I try not to focus on my vulnerability and instead on the result of what stepping outside my comfort zone will do for something greater than me, whether that’s the business, your community, the environment, etc.
AJ: What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?
JC: How much I love it. I’ve always been more operations-focused. But I feel so much more fulfilled balancing creating and designing along with running and growing a business.
AJ: Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?
JC: We’ve been fortunate to have customers that love our product and are willing to share it. But we, of course, have folks who haven’t tried our product who think our price point is high for “slippers.” Whatever it is, I look for constructive feedback in the criticism that can help me better the product and business and let any negativity in it go.
AJ: What’s a cause you are passionate about and why?
JC: I’m passionate about giving back to environmental efforts. When coming up with the idea for Dooeys and learning the fashion industry is responsible for up to 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions, I knew I wanted to create a product and brand in a way that would be a part of the positive change in fashion. That’s why I’ve chosen to use only plant-based and recycled materials and recycled packaging and offset carbon emissions on every order shipped. Our shoe box is also the shipping box. We give back to environmental organizations throughout the year. For example, we donated to the Clear Air Task Force the week of Giving Tuesday.
AJ: And, of course, we have to ask—what brings you joy?
JC: Creating new products, designing, traveling travel planning, and spending time with my husband, James, and my dog, Olie.
Editor’s Note: This interview was edited slightly for length and clarity.