thriving in the margins. i came across this idea in an article i read recently, and i realized that it is exactly what i wanted for the palatines - i wanted to create a brand that could thrive in the margins - to exist and flourish, but exist slightly under the radar, and do it’s own thing.
that’s actually kind of where the name came from - i was researching the area of northern england where my family came from, and realized that the county was, for quite a long time a “county palatine”, which meant that it was ruled locally, and not by the crown.
i liked this analogy - the idea of a small enclave, doing what was right by their own ideas & philosophies, while surrounded by a much larger population, all following the same orders, and marching to the same tune. this is what i wanted my brand to be.
and it was.
i have all of you to thank for it. you recognized the palatines as a brand that did things differently - manufactured our shoes from the best materials in family owned factories in los angeles, and created shoes that weren’t versions of those that other brands were doing. it wasn’t meant to be a revolution, i didn’t want to “disrupt”. i wanted to do my own thing, wondered if it was possible to thrive in the margins?
and the honest answer is…. i’m not sure. it’s certainly possible to exist. we proved that was true, and you helped us by putting us on the map, and being taken seriously by people who did not believe that high quality, thoughtfully designed shoes could be made in this country, and find a following and a customer. we did that. it was very hard, but every step was worth it, and i'm extremely proud.
but we are a small business, a more or less one-woman (with a lot of support) show. the industry & the retail sectors are changing dramatically. it's for the better, in the long run, i think, but it's a tough road, for now. as a result, it's been increasingly difficult to keep up with competitors who run their brands in a different way. i wasn’t willing to compromise the goals that i started with, in order to become more competitive. i don’t want to lower the quality of the shoes, in order to meet a lower price. the palatines has come to far to back track on the commitments we made to ourselves & our customers.
i'm ready to thrive in other areas, and change the focus a bit.
i love the business of making shoes. it’s what i do, and it’s what i’ll continue to do. i’m excited for some new projects, and to see what the future holds. i. hope to see many of you there.
jessica taft langdon
founder / designer
the palatines shoes