Back on your feet
Quality, product diversity drives local footwear chain to recent expansion

By Christopher Bennett - Special to The Freeman

Nov. 19, 2015


Lenny & Eva makes personalized mix and match leather cuffs to wear on your wrist.
Submitted photo

BROOKFIELD - A labor force of women working to get back on their feet produces the handbags of Kindred Spirits.

The bead products sold by 31 Bits benefit the Ugandan women who craft the jewelry. Lenny & Eva is a company that produces leather cuff bracelets with inspirational messages.

The list of new products being carried by Stan’s Fit For Your Feet share the common touch of an interesting story and impeccable quality, or they likely wouldn’t be in the store.

“We like to find brands that are quality and that have a story or mean something to the consumer,” said Megan Sajdak, marketing director for Stan’s Fit For Your Feet/New Balance Milwaukee. “Some of them are really well-known, quality brands, and that’s why they’re in our stores.”


Shupaca makes scarves and hats from alpaca. The family business uses all fair trade practices and works directly with Ecuadorian artisans to handweave products.
Submitted photo

The expansion of the product line at Stan’s is in response to the demands of consumers.

“The big driver is we are already bringing quality footwear,” Sajdak said. “Our buyers are already going out and bringing quality footwear products to our store.”

Sajdak said women are looking for accessories to pair with the footwear offerings available at Stan’s three metro Milwaukee locations, and men and women alike are always seeking gift items.

Stan’s is celebrating its 65th year as a retail footwear option in the Milwaukee area. Stan’s Fit For Your Feet stores are located in The Plaza at the corner of Bluemound and Calhoun roads in Brookfield; in Glendale at 505 W. Silver Spring Drive; and in Greenfield in Layton Plaza at 7405 W. Layton Ave.

Sajdak said Stan’s tested various products in stores and came to a better sense of what consumers want in addition to footwear.

“Women are looking for that gift-giving item, or that item that can accessorize their outfit,” Sajdak said. “We’re bringing in quality items to accessorize your apparel or wardrobe.”


Kindred Spirits owner Patti Yancey lost her job in the fashion industry and began designing bags in 2007. The bags are made by giving the design and upholstery fabric to U.S. women trying to get back on their feet. The women are paid for the final product and all bags are one-of-a-kind.
Submitted photo

Sajdak said the buyers at Stan’s go to markets several times each year and peruse products. In this instance, Stan’s is the buyer, and is purchasing items from the manufacturer or sometimes a distributor.

Sajdak said Stan’s buyers attended markets in Atlanta and Chicago in search of accessories they felt would fit consumer demand and Stan’s existing product line. Sajdak said the expansion in product line is driven by a desire to be known for more than shoes.

“We are really developing our business and making sure we are more than just a shoe store,” Sajdak said. “Yes, you can get your shoes, but you can also buy great gifts for your girlfriend or your wife.”

The new products are from 13 distinct retailers and craftsmen.

Shupaca is a line of scarves and hats made from alpaca. Leaders in Leather features handbags hand-made with traditional Paraguayan techniques.

World Finds is fair-trade, original jewelry. Espe specializes in animal-friendly, vegan fashion and Lotus Jewelry makes handcrafted jewelry in sterling silver or 14 karat gold for the everyday woman.

Luca + Danni make inspirational jewelry. Chicago-based Shiraleah makes vegan leathers & leather handbags with interesting interpretations on color and embellishment.

Baggallini is the brainchild of two flight attendants who wanted better bags for travelers, and Hobo is a well-known brand of handcrafted leather bags and wallets. Woolflower is best described as a meeting of art and hand-crafted items made of wool.

“We’re really excited for the holidays,” Sajdak said. “You’ll be able to get footwear for yourself and a gift.”

Sajdak said the new product line is not a one-off being stocked specifically for the holidays, and said many of the items, which are available now, would make excellent gifts for Mother’s Day, graduations or birthdays.