Today we’d like to introduce you to Jocelyn Patterson.
Hi Jocelyn, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
In 2010, I started an online shoe store while still working a 9-5 job in banking. My love of selling women’s footwear turned into a passion and I wanted to learn how to design footwear. I had no fashion/design experience but did some research and came across a school in Milan, Italy- Ars Sutoria. The school taught a 24-week footwear development and pattern-making course. In 2013, I took a leap of faith and applied to Ars Sutoria, got accepted and moved to Milan. Once I completed the course, I came back to the states and settled in New York. In New York, I interned for independent shoe designers and eventually started freelancing as a footwear sales rep.
In 2016, I moved back to Charleston and started working on designing my shoe brand, Gola Sweetgrass!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road! My greatest struggle was and still is funding my business. Being able to obtain financing to help with producing my collection. As a start up, finding investors and lenders to take a risk on you is challenging. Other struggles were finding a shoe factory willing to take a chance on an unknown designer with small production. And just the everyday struggles of being an entrepreneur and running a business. You wear many hats.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Gola Sweetgrass?
Gola Sweetgrass is a retail footwear company based in Charleston, SC. Inspired by the sweetgrass baskets, our company is focused on shining a light on the art form of Sweetgrass baskets and basket weavers. Our mission is to educate and preserve the history of Sweetgrass baskets within the Gullah/Geechee culture and create a high-quality sandal that reflects Lowcountry living. The first sandal of the collection is named after my grandmother, Myrna who was my biggest supporter!
As a shoe designer, my goal is to design and produce sandals that are comfortable without compromising style.
We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I am a risk-taker! I did not start out like that but every risk I’ve taken has always given me big rewards. Even when at first I failed. Taking a risks doesn’t mean you jump in without preparation or research, but you’ve weighed your options and know the risks you’re taking can lead to that next step in growth. Once you’ve moved past the fear, risk taking is a part of being an entrepreneur and growing your business.
- 30% off Spring Sale
- 30% off Myrna in Tan/Natural
- Website: golasweetgrass.com
- Instagram: @golasweetgrass
- Facebook: golasweetgrass