Sole Mates

How Matt and Jacqueline Marciante married their love of fashion with business.

By Kat Barclay

Step inside Matt and Jacqueline Marciante’s closet, and you’ll find mostly black, white and gray clothing — not too many prints or patterns, or anything really fancy or trendy either. If the couple had to give their style a name, it would be “Frank Sinatra meets Johnny Cash.”

“Black is my favorite color,” Jacqueline says. “Even our wedding was just white and black with hints of gold.”

The Marciantes’ love for classic style translates to their shoe and leather goods company, Marciante and Company, which launched earlier this year.

The Grapevine couple runs the business on the side of their day jobs — Matt is a screen printer in Fort Worth, while Jacqueline works in vocational ministry at Gateway Church. Married in 2015, they always half-joked about one day starting a business together because of their shared style and love for creativity —  they just weren’t sure what that business would be like.

When Matt’s dad started his own footwear manufacturing company after spending about 30 years on the retail brand side of the work and western boot industry, the conversation about starting a business became more serious.

“It was like we had these two things running parallel to each other — my love for shoes and her love for fashion and wanting to do something with that,” Matt says. “Then when my dad broke off to do his own thing, it sort of all just came together.”

So the couple got to work. Their first move was deciding on the company name. Then in April 2017, they found a manufacturer, and within two weeks, they created a logo, website and had the first samples of shoes.

The shoes are manufactured in Leon, Mexico, a town known for having some of the best leather in the world. With help from his dad’s connections in the industry, Matt found a small factory in Leon where the shoes are almost entirely handmade, with only an occasional need for a sewing machine on certain designs, “which is really cool because you get to see the people’s passion for creating [the product] and all the hard work they put into it,” Jacqueline says.

The Marciantes wanted to design high-quality shoes that will last for years without going out of style. Most of the shoes have leather soles, which makes them long-lasting because they can easily be resoled at a shoe repair shop. The shoes are also made true-to-size with a cork layer on the inside that molds specifically to the wearer’s feet, making the shoes more comfortable.

According to the Marciantes, the prices are significantly less than designer brand shoes, ranging in price from $130-$185.

“We’re sort of taking a backward approach to business,” Matt says. “[Our shoes] are not cheap, but what a lot of the huge brands do is drive the prices up because of the name and then find areas of the quality where they can cut corners. For us, we wanted to make the best shoe possible and sell it for the lowest price possible.”

So far, Marciante and Company has six different men’s shoes and five women’s styles of shoes. They also sell several small leather goods like wallets, keychains and makeup bags. They eventually plan to add even more products like hats and backpacks, but they are adamant about keeping footwear as the company’s signature item.

“We’re definitely taking it slow on putting new things out there,” says Jacqueline. “We don’t want to overwhelm the audience.”

Even the footwear itself has a story. Here, Matt shares the inspiration behind the names of each shoe.

The West End

“This blush-colored Chelsea Boot was named after a part of Dallas that's special to us because it's where we had our wedding reception. We had several men's Chelsea designs already and wanted to do something for women too that had a little more elegant look while still sticking with the same style. We feel like the blush color and the soft calfskin leather definitely accomplishes that with the same welt construction and leather sole as the men's Chelsea boots.”

The Leon

“This one is just our take on a classic dress shoe. The wingtip has been around forever, and there are so many different versions of it, we decided to really just focus on the quality of it rather than try to reinvent the wheel. It's classic, it's timeless, and it has some flair that an ordinary dress shoe doesn't always have. Named after the city where we make our shoes and influenced by the style and personality of our favorite local musician, Leon Bridges, The Leon is an essential part of any man's wardrobe.”

The Marie

“We really wanted to try [to] do something unique and special. We love clean, minimal style, and thought it would be great if we could make the top of the shoe with one continuous piece of leather. It's simple, it's different — but we love it. Named after a family member, we feel like The Marie is going to be one of the signature shoes of our early collection.”