Bridget Sandals to open shop at Hope Road
A pair of sandals for US$150 sounds like a fair price - provided they are made by Bridget Sandals.
These handmade sandals, made only for women, are distributed from five outlets in the Caribbean and United States, according to the company's website. And now the company plans to expand its Jamaica operations.
The new property, in the final stages of development at Hope Road in Kingston, already has 'Bridget' branding on the gate and building, albeit partially covered up. The site has two structures, which appear to be a showroom and a warehouse towards the back.
Repeated attempts by Gleaner Business since last November to interview the owner of Bridget Sandals, Bridget Brown, have been met with the same response - to send the questions via email. That was the response again on Friday, even though the questions were sent more than once.
The sandals maker currently operates from Abbeydale in Kingston. The Hope Road location is a larger complex, with space for parking, but it is unclear whether Brown plans to operate both or relocate to the new complex.
Titles Office records show that nearly four years ago Bridget Brown acquired ownership in a 3,500 square-metre property at 90 Hope Road in Kingston for US$1.2 million. The property was previously held by Edward Samuel Harrison, who passed away, Noel Pat Brady, and Winston Edward Brady as tenants in common.
Presently, Bridget Sandals continues to operate from its Abbeydale Road showroom and factory, described by some as a garden oasis. The Hope Road complex is set in a different milieu - it is centrally located near bustling shopping centres and other commerce, as well as residences and schools, all on a road with high-volume traffic.
Bridget Sandals makes sandals in three main styles, which includes the thong, strappy and open toe. The footwear is sported by socialites, young professionals and the trendy, and is popular for regular wear and parties, but is also seen on catwalks around the world.
It's led to copycats and also other pop-up companies seeking to fill a gap in the market dominated by Bridget.
Brown started selling footwear in 1981, mainly through custom orders of sandals, shoes, boots and accessories. In the 1990s, she developed an original line of sandals which found favour locally and internationally, with over 1,000 designs over the years but 60 in regular production, according to the company's bio available online.
Bridget has outlets in Jamaica, its home market, and also in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Miami, its website says.