For years, craftsmen have been stitching sheepskin boots on the beaches of Australia and New Zealand, however it took a bold and enterprising Smith to introduce a quirky Australian tradition to the United States. Smith hit the streets of New York without much luck.
Smith knew that there had to be a place for his boots in the US market, so he traveled west to do a little surfing in California. Arriving there he was shocked to find that there was already a small group of well-traveled surfers who'd brought similar sheepskin boots back from Australia. He'd found his niche, and he never had to leave the beach. Since then, UGG Australia has gone from a small time surf brand to the global leader in luxury sheepskin footwear.
The product range has also grown beyond boots to incorporate casual footwear, slippers, and all-weather products made of the same fine Australian sheepskin. "UGG Australia is the real deal," says Connie Rishwain, President of UGG Australia. "Once you wear UGG Australia, you're hooked. They're original, authentic, and the ultimate in luxury and comfort."
The earth rotates left to right - the natural flow of things is top to bottom - but in 1978 Brian Smith, a young Australian surfer, brought a core piece of "Down Under" to the United States.
Armed with two dozen pairs of UGG sheepskin boots, he hit the streets of NYC ready to make his "sheepskin to riches" story to come true. Three days later he was "down under" by $950. He still had two dozen UGG boots and was feeling lonely in the Big Apple.
Being a persistent, committed and creative mate, Brian was convinced these Australian boots had a place in the US market. He then set out determined to find it. Luckily, it didn't take him long to realize that the UGG boots would fit the same feet in the States as they do in Australia - surfers feet. In fact, he soon discovered there was already a core group of surfers who had brought UGGs back from Australia to share with their American surfing "mates."
His first season in business Brian sold 48 pairs of boots to a whopping 5 accounts. Of course, it was the crazy California surfers who grasped the genius of these sheepskin boots - the incredible warmth, ultimate comfort and hip styling.
Now Ugg footwear is sold from LA to New York to London and all points in between. They have also grown beyond boots to incorporate shoes, slippers and clogs and all-weather products made of the same fine Australian sheepskin.
Brian Smith continues to keeps the Australian Spirit alive as a spokesperson for the UGG brand. And, don't be surprised if you see him mysteriously showing up on one of NYC's fashion runways sometime soon, since sheepskin is so in Vogue.