Rollie shoes are defined by Jean’s innovative designs. Classic shoe styles, like the quintessential Chukka boot, are given new life by Jean’s use of ultra-lightweight and ultra-flexible materials in fresh, unexpected colors and textures.
While Jean sees himself semi-retired in the next 10 years, we secretly hope to see his entrepreneurial spirit continue, and further drive him to create more excellent products like Rollie shoes for decades to come. Jean has a knack for designs that not only enhance quality of life, but bring joy to us, the consumers.
Mood Of Living Q&A:
MoL: Where are you from?
J: I was born in Mauritius, but raised in Melbourne, Australia from the age of 8 months.
MoL: Where did you go to school?
J: Catholic Regional College in Melbourne
MoL: Your current location?
J: Melbourne, Australia
MoL: What is your current occupation?
J: Creative Director of Rollie
MoL: What is your occupation description?
J: I design footwear under my label Rollie, so that also involves liaising with customers, doing trend research and production.
MoL: Before your current occupation you were…?
J: Self-employed as a shoe consultant
MoL: In 10 years you will be…?
J: Hopefully semi-retired, traveling the world being a humanitarian and being a consultant to start-up businesses as well as a great partner and father.
MoL: What inspired you to become a shoe designer?
J: The [my] love for how technical footwear is. It never gets boring because it’s forever changing and you’re forever learning. Shoes are a commodity so they’ll always be needed.
MoL: Where did you learn your craft?
J: I learned my craft by working for a shoe wholesaler where I shadowed the director for 5 years. Once I became self-employed, I worked in a sample room for 2 years.
MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?
J: I look for inspiration everywhere – from people to music, food, blogs and through my travels.
MoL: What was the moment when you realized you could really do this?
J: I’ve been doing other private labels for major brands, and then once I became self-employed, I really had an urge to release my own brand.
“Do what you love and if you’re not, always work toward it.”
MoL: Do you have a hobby?
J: I love playing basketball, listening to music and eating good food.
MoL: Favorite quote?
J: “Be the change you want to see in the world” – Gandhi
MoL: Who is an influential figure in your life?
J: Pharrell Williams – he’s a pioneer not only in music but also in fashion and he’s a very genuine and humble man.
MoL: Do you have a style icon?
J: Lenny Kravitz, Rick Owen and Justin Oshea.
MoL: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?
J: I read this somewhere, and it is now a rule I stick to and has made my life so much more efficient: If it takes less than 15 minutes, action it straight away.
MoL: If you could have a conversation with any living person, who would it be and why?
J: Edward de Bono – I love his approach to simplicity and his amazing and innovative way of thinking.
MoL: What is something you now know that you wish you knew before?
J: I think everything happens for a reason at a timely manner, but I now know how important it is to try and understand what drives people’s motives.
MoL: Words of wisdom?
J: Do what you love and if you’re not, always work toward it.
MoL: Where do you go for peace and spirit?
J: Family dinners weekly. Although it may be loud and crazy, I find peace in it as it keeps me grounded.
MoL: We find that people who make beautiful things are more likely to lead an artistic lifestyle. Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home? Do you entertain? Do you cook?
J: My house is in constant renovation. We have a big warehouse space, which is our home and also a creative business environment. We have friends and family over all the time. Last Christmas’ present was my mother’s cookbook, which we always use, so my favorite dish to cook is my mom’s fried rice.
MoL: What advice can you give to anyone interested in starting his or her own business?
J: Work on a business model and be genuine in what you’re doing because people will always respond better. When building a brand, think about an emotional connection, as it is just as important as it being economically viable.
Photos courtesy of Rollie
Jean Vincent Lebon, Creative Director of Rollie shoes