UGGS! So much more than fabulous comfy boots, the iconic Aussie brand once began on the sandy shores of Byron Bay, far away from the high profile attention they get today, and definitely nowhere near the freezing Canadian climate that we..er..enjoy. Here are 10 things that might surprise you about Ugg Australia:
1. Flip-flops at the beach? Nope.
In the 70's, surfers in Byron Bay first started wearing sheepskin 'footies' in between riding the waves at now infamous breaks The Pass, Cozy Corner and Wategos. The sheepskin, in abundance in Australia, provided natural warmth and comfort. On the beaches of New South Wales, the brand was born.
2. It all started with the guys
Believe it or not, when Uggs were brought to California in 1978, girls were wearing their surfer boyfriend's Uggs like a varsity jacket. Surfer dudes bought up the sheepskin boots in surf shops around Southern California, the epicenter of the relaxed lifestyle. It wasn't until after the guys lent their Uggs to the girls that the popularity among women really took off.
3. Baywatch helped the brand take off
Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson sported a pair of original Uggs in an episode of Baywatch, and sales took off. Celebrities Britney Spears and Kate Hudson were among the first actresses to follow suit.
4. Spokesperson...Rush Limbaugh?
Right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh served as the company's first US spokeperson in the 1990s.
5. These are a few of my favourite things...
Nothing like a little help from Oprah Winfrey to raise awareness about your brand. Winfrey bought 350 pairs of classic Uggs for her staff, and later revealed them as one of the items on her Favourite Things show.
Shane Stedman, an Aussie surfer, trademarked the Ugh boot in 1971 because of their nature. After all, they were just sheepskin pieces wrapped around your feet (sometimes with sinew still attached). Thankfully, a friend starting attaching soles to his sheepskin footies and the 'boots' took off. Stedman sold the rights to Brian Smith, a fellow surfer, who then sold the boots in California under Ugg Holdings. To this day, Stedman still lives in the home he lived in 50 years ago, and gets three free pairs of Uggs every year. He keeps one pair, and gives the rest to his children.
7. Real or fake?
You can tell if your Uggs are real by getting them right here on the online Quarks store! Or you can check the bottom of your Uggs for raised insignia, then check the sun logo on the box - it should turn from black to white when held at an angle. If your Uggs are real, you won't be able to seperate the fleece from the skeepskin (unless you're a sheep-shearer!) If there is a sewn in label in the left boot or a security sticker on the outsole, they're legit.
8. From the beach to the stores
In 1995 Deckers Corp. headed by Doug Otto, acquired the company and continues to expand the brand, which is registered and trademarked in over 100 countries.
9. Risk and reward
Deckers Corp., whose biggest brand at the time was sandal manufacturer Teva, initially expressed interest in the Ugg brand because of the lag in sales of sandals during the winter months. Knowing that Uggs were worn year around, around the world, they acquired Uggs to make up for the lag in sales from Teva. We think they made a good decision!
10. They're more than just boots!
Today, Ugg Australia manufactures way more than just the cozy sheepskin boots we know and love. Leather boots, dress shoes, casual sandals, flip-flops, slippers and clogs are just a few of the products that have added to their success.
Check out more from Ugg Australia.