When Jeremy and Lila Stewart started their flip-flop brand, Hari Mari, they were looking to do one thing: fill a niche in the market.
“When we first started out, we asked people what they thought about flip-flops; what they liked and didn’t like,” Jeremy Stewart said. “What we found out was that whether they loved flip-flops or hated them, they all disliked that little piece that goes in between the first and second toe.
“It’s actually why a lot of people won’t wear flip-flops, so I thought if we can build a flip flop that’s colorful, comfortable, and mitigates that break in period by doing something different with that toe piece we might have something different.”
Six years later, the luxuriously comfortable nature behind Hari Mari has landed the north Dallas brand in small independent shops and resorts and in major retail chains including Nordstrom’s, GAP, REI, and Orvis.
A flip-flop collaboration with upscale men’s clothier Peter Millar was recently unveiled.
Lila Stewart, who graduated from Highland Park High School in 1999, said she was filled with “just pinch me” moments when she was first contacted about the partnership.
“To be able to partner with these guys is a huge deal for us,” she said.
Executives with Peter Millar echoed her sentiment.
Whether worn with swim trunks in the Maldives or slacks on casual Friday, the buttery USA-made Horween leather shoes have checked all the boxes for Peter Millar’s “ultimate sandal” goals, said Jason Cater, the brand’s vice president of design and merchandising.
“Really, most importantly is, we share a lot of the same values,” Cater said. “We are both small companies, we care about our customers, and we really love to build exceptional products.”
The exclusive collaboration flip-flops feature neoprene-lined, memory foam-filled toe posts and straps to eliminate break-in periods and provide a customized fit; they’re also designed with thin, lightweight, soft-squeeze memory foam-filled midsoles for support, mobility and comfort, as well as an exclusive heel cup design and non-marking, boat-safe, carbon-free rubber outsoles.
“It’s softer than any other leather we’ve made,” said St. Marks alum Jeremy Stewart. “And you can tell. The immediate reaction from people when they slip it on is like this is like a cloud on my foot. Or this is super buttery.”