Kristian Klein Resurrects Jelly Beans – Togatus September 2012
After his sister Zoe found a pair of mini Jelly Sandals during a cupboard clean-out, director of Jelly Beans Australia Kristian Klein went on a brotherly mission to find her a pair of Jelly Sandals to call her own. The mission quickly turned to a nightmare, Klein couldn’t find a pair anywhere, and so he resurrected Jelly Beans sandals from the dead! What started out as a mission to buy one pair turned into a batch of 16,000. According to Klein “Jelly Beans are the coolest shoes ever! The story goes that they were first produced after World War II due to a leather shortage, a bit of history for you! They are a practical and stylish shoe, perfect for grand adventures!”
What kind of person wears Jelly Beans sandals?
We have had such a wide demographic of customers. It’s been really unexpected. We are sending Jelly Beans as far as Denmark, the US and Singapore. Young mums buy a pair for themselves and a pair for their toddlers, beach goers adore them, teenagers who we would expect to be too young to remember jelly sandals from ‘back in the day’ are buying up and fashionistas are wearing them with funky socks through winter. It’s been a huge surprise to discover just how many people love these shoes. We get many emails, almost every one of them is fun and cheerful. People send us pictures and photos. It’s awesome. We have a wall in our office dedicated to the cool emails we get from people. It’s getting pretty busy, might need to extend the office! Our customers are a fun bunch of people.
What did you need to consider when bringing the sandals out of the 90s and into 2012?
The main thing from a business perspective was whether or not people would be open to a revival of these shoes. There is an incredible amount of nostalgia associated with them but the question was whether or not that would transform into sales. We took a punt and it paid off. People not only love to remember them, they want to wear them again. We underestimated how popular they would be, It’s a fantastic problem to have.
Jelly sandals used to be for kids, I spotted the advertisement in Frankie Magazine and your new media approach, like the use of Facebook and your online store, are you marketing more towards the young adult age group now rather than for children?
We absolutely are. The market we felt would be most interested in a jelly sandals comeback would be young adults. Particularly those who had been exposed to those shoes at a younger age. The easiest way to expose them to the brand was via social networks and the internet. People who are fashion conscious are constantly on the lookout for new brands and products, especially on the net. We were lucky and some of the things we did went a tad viral. He got some great exposure. We will start focussing more on kids for this coming summer and get them on some cute feet!
Would you like to see Jelly Sandals become a cult hit among adolescents and young adults?
That would be amazing, but not our overall ambition. I guess we already have a little bit of a cult following among some groups. I would love them to become a part of everyday life, for all ages and all types of people. The same way thongs are now a part of our culture, I would love Jelly Beans to be part of it too.
What are your plans for the future?
We are headed wherever the wind takes us! New colours and styles are in the works (glitter is on the way!), we will be in your favourite stores this summer and we are in the process of establishing distribution channels in the US and Europe. It’s all very exciting and we are having a ball!