Have you ever wondered what’s behind the doors of the colorful building at 6400 Hollis Street AKA “Jellybean Square” (so nicknamed as it was once a facility used by the Herman Goelitz Candy Company who became the Jelly Belly Candy Company)? The office building houses an eclectic mix of familiar businesses and startups. One of these businesses is the woman-owned and founded Livie & Luca, the small but mighty children’s shoe company spreading joy to little feet everywhere.
Having been challenged myself to find comfortable shoes for an active toddler, I came across Livie & Luca as one of the brands that checks off all parents’ needs for kid’s shoes. The adorable, unique styles for babies, boys and girls are not only flexible, lightweight, breathable and washable but they also stay on wiggly feet like a charm and are made from safe and sustainable materials. Of course, only a conscientious parent would have the vision and drive to create better for their children’s feet and in this case, there are two busy moms making it all happen for Livie & Luca.
Mitzi Rivas and Amie Garcia met and formed a bond over a decade ago in a prenatal yoga class while expecting their first children. At this same time, Mitzi was gifted a pair of baby shoes that were, as she describes, “bright, colorful and joyful” and she was instantly smitten. She and Amie started selling them out of the trunks of their cars and since Mitzi had recently left a corporate position that had drained her spirit, she knew that her next venture had to have more meaning for her.
Amie had a long career in education and wanted to continue to impact children’s lives. Their goals aligned perfectly and they decided to become business partners in a venture that was purely mission-driven. Thus, Livie & Luca, named after each of their first children, was officially founded in 2005.
“Before there was a product, there was a mission. I still feel very passionately about making sure that what I do with my time and what I do with my life impacts and spreads joy” says Mitzi confidently. Because of her and Amie’s dedication to spread joy to as many children as possible, Livie & Luca donates 10% of their net profit to various greater good campaigns, including two national collaborations, Kaboom and Changing the Face of Beauty.
It’s amazing that this tiny organization of only 15 employees churns out a high-quality product and stays true to their mission every day. If you are a parent with similar alignment, why wouldn’t you want to buy into their joyful foot philosophy?
Not only that but the duo chose our beloved Emeryville to headquarter their operations for its central location and for it’s hip, urban vibe. While they hope they are here to stay, they also lament the lack of engagement and networking opportunities in Emeryville. They want to find local campaigns to create joyful little experiences for Emeryville-based nonprofits, but without an active forum for local businesses, they have been unable to connect with the proper resources.
I do hope they stay and continue to be a cornerstone for Emeryville local business. Whenever my daughter (bouncing around comfortably in her Livie & Luca “Mary Janes”) and I walk past Jellybean Square, I get a little bit happier knowing that fellow active, ambitious moms, Mitzi and Amie, and the entire Livie & Luca team is there – spreading joy to little soles everywhere.
Mitzi and Amie have offered 15% off for all E’ville Eye readers through livieandluca.com. Please enter the coupon code “EVILLEKIDS” at checkout (offer expires 6/30/17). Livie & Luca are also available online at Zappos.com and Amazon and locally at GoldenBug and Bird & Bean (both in Oakland).