Ever since day one, I have always been barefoot. Grandparents, family, and friends always told my mom, “Your daughter should put some shoes on her feet. She’s going to catch a cold!” But those warnings never made me put shoes on my bare feet. Once I was older, everyone knew me for my missing shoes. Even my friends’ mothers knew to ask me before leaving, “Hailey, do you have shoes?”
There were so many times that my family had to turn the car around, or pick up a pair of cheap flip-flops– because I didn’t grab my shoes.
When I was about 8 or 9-years-old, my friends and I would often play restaurant at my house, since my house had a pool, a little tiki bar, and tables. Of course, we would play barefoot. We named our restaurant L and H Grill and served our “customers” all day long. But one Saturday afternoon, I was playing restaurant alone and I needed a new name because I was playing by myself. After a little thought, I naturally thought of “Barefoot Nation.” It is so much a part of who I am.
While I was welcoming my “guests” to Barefoot Nation, my dad and brother were trimming the bushes and overheard, “Hi, welcome to Barefoot Nation. How many?”
Immediately my dad dropped his shears and said, “What did you just say, Hailey?”
I replied, “Ummm… Welcome to Barefoot Nation, how many?” He and Ryker ran into the house and told my mom, Alicia, that they had to do “something” with that name! Ryker said, “That would be a cool t-shirt!”
For about three months, my family and I kind of joked around saying we were going to make a lifestyle apparel brand. Once our national trademark became approved, the jokes got more serious. We started meeting people, getting logos, shirts, designs, taglines, and more.
To me, being barefoot doesn’t just mean not having any shoes on my feet. I feel free, loose, and myself. My entire family has adopted the meaning of our family brand. It feels amazing to be able to share our message!