Central Oregon sisters, Kelly Beall and Wendy Weems never dreamed of being shoe designers. As little girls growing up in the small farming community of Jefferson, Oregon between Salem and Albany, fashion was not part of their world. “Golly no!” Beall says with a laugh, “There was no fashion in our house. We were either barefoot or wearing cowboy boots.” That was then and this is now. Five years ago Wendy moved to Central Oregon after nearly 20 years in the South. Kelly arrived a year later from Texas. “Oregon is home. We’re proud of where we come from and where we are now”, says Beall.
Beall and Weems are also proud of their new joint venture. Weems says, “Kelly always carried a sketch book full of shoes she had drawn and I kept telling her I want to wear those shoes.” One night Weems says she had an epiphany. “I kept having what I call ‘God-Winks’ telling me this is what we needed to do, so I woke up and called my sister and said come over here and let’s do business,” recalls Weems. Within days Beall and Weems formed a business partnership and began developing Y Knot Branded footwear.
Weems says, “Kelly is the designer and I’m the venture capitalist.” But they come from a family of artists and both lend a hand to design and the finished product. Beall counters, “Wendy will look one of our sample shoes and instantly see that a nail head is one-one-hundredth of an inch out of place. She catches every detail. We make an incredible team” Beall says they began creating what they wanted in footwear, but couldn’t find in stores. “I love my western heritage, but you can’t wear cowboy boots with every outfit.” Beall and Weems find inspiration in everything from a favorite pair of old chaps to a childhood saddle. Even the name ‘Y Knot Branded’ comes from Beall’s registered Oregon horse brand. This spring ‘Y Knot Branded’ launches its first line of footwear. The women’s collection is an array of high heeled and platform sandals and shoes in 15 western influenced styles.
“It feels surreal,” Beall says, “We’ve been a great team and our hard work is paying off.” Y Knot Branded shoes will be in at least 12 stores across the US and Canada this June. But Central Oregon gets a sneak peak this weekend. Beall and Weems will unveil their new line of Y Knot Branded shoes at Desperado in the Old Mill District. This special Trunk Show Event features Y Knot Branded shoes and Old Gringo Boots beginning Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11th . Beall says, “We still feel like barn kids, and now we’re barn kids with big dreams.”
Beall and Weems will be at Desperado throughout the trunk show with their new Y Knot Branded collection. For more information call (541) 749-9980.