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Founder Feature: Jessica Perdomo

In a 2012 experiment, University of Kansas researchers found that people were able to correctly determine a stranger's age, gender, income, political affiliation, and personality traits just by looking at the person's shoes. What would they say about people wearing Jessica Perdomo’s J.J. Gray oxfords? Lucky.

The need for a classic, comfortable pair of shoes while traveling in Spain led Jessica to use her last $800 to start a business four years later. The shoes that the family-run business made for her were not only stunning but uber-comfortable. Jess saw her chance to sell something beautiful, durable, easy-wearing, and ageless. 

Founding a business selling high-end, one-of-a-kind footwear is not necessarily the life one might have envisioned for this young woman. Raised by her Dominican grandparents after her mother’s death when she was 5, Jess grew up remarkably poor. She went to work at age 13, and eventually grew a career in luxury menswear.

Choosing entrepreneurship was a real leap of faith for Jess, given her security and financial success in the luxury brand space. A driving force has been the desire to give back, helping people from her community who have limited opportunities. And she knows the confidence that comes with investing in true craftsmanship and quality. After all…a person’s shoes say a lot.

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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