A little over a year and a half ago I announced that I had left my job as an accountant to start a shoe brand, thank you to those of you who have given me your support since then. I hope that all of you will continue to support me by continuing to read the The Fine Young Gentleman as well as patronize my brand, Jay Butler. Although I have mentioned the brand a few times in passing I have remained relatively quiet about things. However, I feel that it is now time to more formally announce Jay Butler and inform all of you on its launch next month (for the latest news, please sign up for updates from the brand here).
Jay Butler is is a purveyor of fine footwear and leather accessories. Its roots are very much set in some of the more classic styles of men’s footwear; however, viewed through a more modern lens. When designing the shoes for Jay Butler I wanted to create shoes that a gentleman could just as easily wear to work as he could wear to the bars; even to the beach. I wanted to create shoes that a man could live in. And live in comfortably.
Over the past few years I have come to believe that there is a significant lack of well styled, well made and well priced casual footwear. I intend for Jay Butler to address this void. Sure, there are the boat shoes of the world, they are great and last for years. But they can only be dressed up so much. Then of course there are those nubby soled driving shoes that are also great. But they will last you for a single season, if that. Not to mention, I have yet to find a penny loafer for less than $200 that I would wear. As men, our options seem to be limited, often, purchasing decisions are made on a ‘lesser of evils’ basis, which results in either quality, style or one’s bank account having to suffer. Jay Butler will allow men to have their cake and eat it too.
In keeping with what I have preached here at The Fine Young Gentleman, I knew that whatever I designed and sold would have to represent an exceptional value. There was and will be no compromising on this, nor should there be. Jay Butler will do for shoes what many of the made to measure suit brands that I have written about did for made to measure suits. They took a product that many men wanted and cut the price to a fraction of what it was historically offered for. Jay Butler’s hand lasted and hand sewn loafers will be offered for around $150, not $300. The same techniques of construction and manufacture will be used, the same quality of materials will be used and the products will be produced by workers who have the same level of experience and skill as those who produce goods for brands that charge far more than Jay Butler. Better style, better price, better value.
Jay Butler will use full grain leathers, leather soles and leather linings for make its shoes and accessories. All of the exotic skins that Jay Butler uses will be CITES certified. Many of our patterns will be cut by hand and then crafted into shoes, bags, wallets and belts by hand. Jay Butler’s goods will not be made in enormous factories in China and India, they will not be made in sweatshops and they will not be made in adverse working conditions. They will be made in workshops and factories in Mexico. Many of the craftsmen and craftswomen who make Jay Butler’s shoes and accessories have been doing so for years, some for decades and some are even the 2nd or 3rd generation of their family to make shoes and leather goods. It could be argued that the craft is in their blood.
Jay Butler’s products will be available exclusively on the brand’s website, JayButler.com. Please note that although the website is live, products are not yet for sale. They will be available for pre-sale sometime in early October and the first orders will ship out toward the end of October.
For those of you that are wondering, The Fine Young Gentleman will continue. In fact, now that the summer is over, I plan to increase the frequency of posts from 1-2 a week to 2-4 a week.
I urge all of you who interested in Jay Butler to sign up for updates here. In the coming weeks I will share much more about how Jay Butler came about, how its products are made and the ideas and inspiration behind the products. Below, you will find a sampling of images of the shoes and how they are made. You will also find a few photos from the first look book. As always, if you have any questions, please email me at Justin@TheFineYoungGentleman.com or you may email Jay Butler directly at Info@JayButler.com. And of course, you may sound off in the comments below. I look forward to beginning the next chapter
Justin L. Jeffers
Great idea. I’m a solid Allen Edmonds customer, but sometimes it’s nice to have a sub-$300 pair that don’t look like crap. I like the fact that these are made closer to home if not actually in the USA. There are indeed some fine craftsmen south of the boarder. I’ll check ’em out.
Thank you! There is indeed some fine craftsmanship south of the border.
Good looking post, I also looked at some of your other postings – all very professional looking. I believe there is always room for quality products.
I agree, thank you. I hope you continue to check things out on the blog and at Jay Butler.
Young professional working in NYC, love your blog and will definitely give your brand a try. I’m loving that pair of suede bit loafers in the middle and plan to purchase them as soon as they become available. Keep up the good work, man.
Many thanks. The bit loafers will come in black, dark brown, tan, dark brown suede (pictured) and navy suede. I look forward to your purchase, thank you for your support.
Don’t forget us wide-footed fellows.
I have not forgotten the wider footed among us. Although I do not have a wide sized shoe yet (I would like to do some of the shoes in a wider size) one of the lasts is a bit wider and I hope it will work for some of the wider footed men out there.
Long-time reader, first-time poster. Congrats on the launch of your show brand. I second your thoughts on the casual footwear options out there, and I look forward to purchasing a pair of Jay Butlers
Thank you for reading the blog and for posting, nice to hear from you. I look forward to your purchase, thank you!
congrats for designing the gucci bot loafer. on the other hand, it’s rather sad that only 3 of your friends found time to comment and commit to buy them
Thanks for your sarcasm, or snarkiness. Fortunately, I’ve sold many times that many shoes in my in person pre-sales and am grateful to those who have said they will purchase.
Congrats Justin. Not just on the shoes but for taking the huge risk of quitting your job to pursue a passion. Many, many people can only dream of doing that. I’ll make sure I pick up a pair because as you can imagine, in Australia, good fashion is hard to find. Especially at an affordable price.
I hope Jay Butler is able to help you out in that search, thank you for your continued support! Also, are you a Hilltop Hoods fan? I love those guys.
Best of luck with the shoe line. One question: who is Jay Butler?
Many thanks and a great question. I will be writing about the story of how the name came about in one of the next few posts. But, as a quick summary – Jay Butler is a combination of two men. Jay Desgrange was my maternal grandfather and Frank Butler was one of my paternal great grandfathers. I never had the pleasure of meeting either man, as they had both passed by the time I was born, however, they are the two men that my parents seemed to look up to when they were being raised. There is a bit more to their back stories and how they have inspired me, which is what I will share about in the future.
First of all, I believe a hearty congratulations are in order! It takes a lot of effort, planning, and perhaps most of all, bravery, to bring such a plan into a flesh and blood company. I am proud to be a long time reader, and appreciate your commitment to quality and high working standards for the production of your products. I see what looks like a blake welting machine; are your shoes welted and resole-able? I would assume so, considering your passion for high-quality footwear.
I look forward to ordering; I am in the market for some new bit loafers, and Gucci just isn’t doing it for me anymore.
Thank you for the congratulations. You are correct, the leather soled shoes will be re-solable. Good eye you have there. Glad to hear you are looking to make an acquisition, thank you!
Good luck, I will probably pick up a pair as this void exists in my closet as well. BTW, you should have grabbed those Gucci loafers
Dude, You looked ripped! Anyway, cant wait to grab a pair
Haha, thanks. Hope Jay Butler is able to fill that void, I look forward to your purchase.
It’s right that you do what you really want to do. It also sounds as if you are doing a service to some Mexican neighbors by giving them work. Two questions: why do you prefer the stiched to the flat (Bass Weejun Logan model)penny strap on the penny loafer, and what’s your evaluation of the Bass Weejun Logan?
I am not sure what you mean by preferring the stitched to flat strap? Could you please elaborate? I think the Logan is ugly. The leather on it is of exceptionally poor quality, if it can actually be called leather. I also think the shape of the penny strap and collar around the foot opening are not attractive.
There seem to be two styles of the penny holder leather piece: your penny loafer photographed above I called “stiched”, the other I called “flat” (Logan). New & Lingwood’s version seems to presume flat, but trsnsforms penny slit into butterfly outline. Your criticism of the Logan may be quite right, but for $110 I wonder what leather is available. You say you dislike the shape of the penny strap – that’s exactly what I believe I mean when I asked you why you prefer “stiched” to unstiched “flat”. I forgot the nickname we gave to your preferred design with the two clumps. No objection to designing more attractive collar of foot opening.
I think you’re referring to the “beef roll” style.
That’s it! “Beef roll”! No wonder I forgot it, as a vegetarian! But the name for both stitched parts is precise and has phantasy! Thanks very much for taking the trouble to get me through this terminological emergency and give me the pleasure of savoring this lost precious piece of poetry for a design I consider ugly compared to what I vulgarly call flat (but elegant!)
Another NYC expectant customer. Congradulations.
Thank you, I look forward to your purchase!
PS: Tricker’s acorn color is beautiful, maybe another name is very yellow cognac. Too bad you don’t got it, maybe it’s not favoured or favorite?
Will there be a collection of lace-ups (oxfords, wingtips, chukka/dress boots) coming out before the end of 2014? I like loafers and all but I would love to see some of your dressier designs.
What color are the loafers worn by the jeep driver?
[…] few weeks ago I announced that I was starting a shoe and leather goods brand, Jay Butler. Proudly, I can now say that ‘starting’ […]
These look great, definitely going to be picking up a pair in navy suede and tan as soon as they’re available for purchase. What is great about the concept is, until you brought it up, I didn’t even realize my wardrobe was missing this type of shoe. Now I’m wondering how I’ve lived without them. These shoes will do well to replace/upgrade the position that my boat shoes currently hold of slip-on-with-everything-but-still-look-decent shoe that tends to be my most common choice when off the clock. Congrats, and looking forward to making my purchase(s)!
Congrats on the new business venture. Great prices, nice designs. Should we assume the shoes are not Goodyear welted? For such low prices, I assume not. Perhaps the relatively thin soled loafers are not good candidate for GY welting.
[…] positive responses I’ve received from many of you over the past month or so since I announced Jay Butler I figure I should share some thoughts and photos from my most recent trip. And of course keep you […]
Thank you for your support. For those of you that are interested, the shoe collection is now available for pre-order. Please check out the collection here – http://jaybutler.com/collections/mens-casual-leather-loafers-shoes
When in shorts and shoes I have to wear socks most of the time, unless in sandals, otherwise goodby loafers! I’m mostly stuck on wearing either sandals or shoes with socks.
I’m looking for loafers light and low cut/open enough on the instep to be worn without socks, is this the case :)?
There used to be loafers very low cut in the past years, they now disappeard and many of them got standardized in “modern” pseudo casual versions ^_^.
Jay Butler’s loafers do have a lower cut and shorter vamp, like styles from the old days. Agreed that many shoes today have vamps that are far too long to be flattering.