Sold Globally, Made Locally: Walk A Mariposa Mile In Nativearth Footwear
MARIPOSA – They’re ramping up into the busiest time of year at family owned and operated Nativearth Footwear. April marks the beginning of festivals season and other events where the handmade shoes are sold.
The local firm has 10 in-house employees, some of whom will be representing Nativearth every weekend now, including founders Jim and LeeAnn Granville.“Our mission at Nativearth is to make and sell comfortable, durable, flexible footwear and accessories,” say the Granvilles. “Nativearth is a family of artists working together as a team.”
The innovative manufacturer/retailer has just two wholesale clients, including a belly dancer and one who handles sales to Japan. The rest of the company’s sales are done online or through direct sales to the customer at venues across the country.
The company was started in 1991 with comfort and durability in mind, according to Jim Granville, who first made shoes as a Boy Scout.
“We were supposed to make moccasins, and my mother said ‘Don’t use my sewing machine, please!'” recalls Granville. “Then she left the house.” Granville successfully sewed the moccasins with his mom’s machine.
His creative talents and fondness for machinery eventually led him into ski boot repair at a time when ski boot technology was becoming revolutionary.
The former Boy Scout found himself on the leading edge of foam boot technology and explored the shoe factories of Italy, feeding his desire to explore architectural structure of both footwear and the world itself.
“Man has walked on the earth for over 100,000 years,” Granville says. “Nativearth shoes represent the ‘olde soles’ footwear designs dating back to 4,000 years ago. We apply modern technology to old constructions and styles, making our company unique in producing soft, adaptive footwear with the focus on comfort, durability and authenticity.”
Nativearth president LeeAnn Granville believes their brand and style of shoemaking to be unique as well as timely.
“This is back to basics, with a twist,” she says. “Our sandals and shoes are like walking barefoot, giving you the freedom of movement without constricting or manipulating the bone structure of your feet. When you purchase a Nativearth item, you’ve gained a product that is handmade, comfortable and durable – a wise investment.”
When Nativearth first opened, the couple’s goal was to be independent, taking advantage of Jim’s background in design and LeeAnn’s talent for sales and marketing. The shoes range from what they call “Biblical and Viking” to “Early European and Medieval-Renaissance” footwear, developed as primitive sandals, low shoes, slippers and boots of any height.
The products are made using full grain natural leathers and other fine materials. Customers can choose from various types of modern soles made with the freshest technology.
“After a short period of wearing, our footwear will contour and form to your feet, becoming part of you,” the Granvilles say.
With a tremendous variety of styles, colors and sizes to choose from, including kids’ shoes, it’s good to know that Nativearth Footwear is not just made in America, it’s made in Mariposa. The company extends an offer to potential customers to stop in for a visit and tour the facility.
Until then, say the Granvilles, “We bid you go forth in comfort.”
Nativearth Footwear is located at 5002 Fairgrounds Road in Mariposa. Open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment only.
209-966-5568 or 209-742-5568