The Birth of a Brand

My footwear design agency - Meat Packing District, NYC 2008

My ultimate goal has always been to start a footwear brand and from the start, I knew I was in a unique position to learn more about the business. A few years back, I established a consulting business to better assist designers by developing footwear for them.

My main responsibility was to design and develop shoes while their primary focus was to market and sell the finished product. Being in this unique position, I was able to do what I feel I do best; design. While learning the ins and outs of both the marketing and sales sides of the business, I was also able to work alongside some of the brightest and most creative people actively working in the field.

Looking over Tyndari - Sicily 2015

Then came September 2015 and somewhere along Sicily’s northern coast on a secluded beach much my own, the thought suddenly entered my mind, it was now time to begin what I have always wanted, to begin building my brand.

I had the experience, the knowledge, necessary relationships and creativity to give it a shot, so why not… and just like that on a Sicilian vacation, my significant other and I began transitioning from a relaxing getaway to something a bit more. We became more aware of our surroundings and eventually went on to submerge ourselves in to each moment while each day passed us by. Moving images sparked our imaginations and came complete with vibrant colors, textures, and the most beautiful landscapes that only the human eye could process. At the time it did not feel as if I were working, it was more about being inspired by my surroundings.

Handmaking the Tyndaris Hi in our shop - New York City 2016

Whether it was the dark grey ash that covered every square inch of Mount Etna or the aroma of fresh basil while navigating the local farms and towns, inspiration was coming from every direction and in more ways than one. Although the shoes are handmade in New York City, the brand was no doubt born in Sicilia and I wanted the first collection to reflect nothing other than that. The most obvious connection to Sicily lies within the name of each of the shoes. All have been named after a city based on the island. The Leni, Milazzo, Oliveri, and Tyndaris are the names chosen to represent each individual style. The Tyndaris is a signature shoe of Omar Bailey Footwear and is the seat of the Firma collection (Firma, Italian for Signature), named for the town of Tyndari which is full of rich and significant history dating back as early as 395 BC. It best represents the city with its strong form and shape just as the “Sanctuary of Tyndari” does. The styles are all their own and in taking on characteristics from those 12 days in Sicily, from the materials, the colors, and textures this collection truly reflects the meaning of an idea being born. As the styles continue to evolve and the collections grow, the shoes will continue to be inspired by the world and the passion of the people who live in it. This brand will be a reflection of the world and whether it’s in the colors, materials, or a special piece of hardware, you can always expect for this story to continue moving forward.