An interview with Jafa CEO, Karen Crivelli

Offering the finest comfort footwear is what has made Saager’s Shoe Shop a successful business for four generations.  One of our best selling brands in our store and on our website is Jafa.  The unique designs, colors and quality materials set this brand apart from others. Karen Crivelli, Jafa CEO, singlehandedly started the Jafa Footwear Company and is the reason it is so successful! Rarely do we get a chance to work directly with the CEO of such an amazing company.

We asked Karen a few questions to get to know a little more about her and Jafa.  You will have a chance to meet her on Saturday, May 21st during our Jafa and Arcopedico Spring Trunk Show.  She will be in our store from 10 am – 3 pm to showcase her spring and summer collection and to give us the behind the scenes scoop on Jafa.

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Stockton, California and moved to Santa Cruz, California 15 years ago.

What’s your favorite food or place to eat?  Grilled seafood and fresh vegetables!

What do you like to do on the weekend or when you have down time? When I’m in the US, I really don’t have any down time, but when I’m in Israel, I spend most weekends at the beach with family, camping, playing matkot (an Israeli paddle ball game). I also love photography, hiking and going to the opera.

Jafa karen Camel
photo credit Jafa

Why and when did you start a shoe company? I was on vacation in Israel 6 years ago and discovered the amazing shoes of Israel. I bought 17 pairs on that trip, they were the most comfortable, best quality shoes I had ever owned. I always had trouble finding shoes that fit in the US, so I was delighted! I brought them back to the US and gave away all the others shoes in my closet. After a year and a half, I mustered up the courage to contact the factory in Israel and asked if they were interested in exporting. They said yes, so I flew to Israel 2 weeks later and the rest is history!

How did you decide on the name “Jafa” for your company? Yafo (or, Jaffa, in English) has been the shoe manufacturing center of the Middle East for hundreds of years. Yafo is an ancient port city in Israel that dates back to the Bronze Age. Until recent years, Yafo (Jaffa) was full of small shoe factories, as far as they eye could see. The old stone buildings, which date back to the 17th century, still remain, but most are now art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Our factory is only a few blocks away from Old Jaffa and we still use the same processes that have been used for hundreds of years.

Why are your shoes manufactured in Israel? Our factory has been making shoes in Israel for over 40 years. Israel has some of the most talented cobblers in the world, which are a dying breed. Our cobblers are true artisans, many of them 2nd, 3rd and even 4th generation.

Jafa Manufacturing
Photo credit Jafa

How often do you travel to Israel and do you feel safe while there?I spend 5-6 months per year in Israel. I go to Israel after trade show season to oversee manufacturing and work with our design team for the next season. And, yes, I feel very safe in Israel! There is a cohesiveness here among the people that I’ve never experienced before.

How involved are you in the manufacturing process? I am very hands on in all aspects of manufacturing, fit and design. I’ve learned a lot about manufacturing over the past 5 years and stay in Israel during the entire process. As a result, I’m there to see and approve all the components, as well as oversee each step of production.

Jafa Karen Manufacturing
photo credit Jafa

Can you tell us a little about the design process of Jafa footwear? Comfort comes first with JAFA. Our shoes are designed for the woman who needs all day comfort, but also wants footwear that is unique, high quality and fashion forward. Our color palette is inspired from the landscape here in Israel….The Dead Sea, spice markets and open air produce markets. Our design team does a great job blending unparalleled comfort, quality materials and beautiful designs. I collaborate with our design team prior to each season to tailor fit the collection to the American market. Each season, we talk over Face Time and I share some ideas I have for the upcoming season prior to my arrival and they have several renditions ready for me. We then fine tune each style and perfect the fit before each show season begins.

What is your favorite color and/or style of this season’s Jafa collection? How can I pick just one? I love them all…I choose our designs and colors each season, so I love each and every one of them. If I don’t love it, it’s not in our collection. In the hot weather, I tend to go for style 118 if I know I’m going to be walking all day. This season, style 820 is my go-to dressier platform in the warm weather, so easy to dress up or down. Style 884 is a classic and offers great support and just the right amount of coverage. Style 433 is another favorite, it’s a great transition style that can easily be paired with shorts and summer dresses, it’s very versatile!

How many pairs of shoes are in your closet? A lot! Last time I counted, there were over 200 pairs of JAFA in my closet. And, yes, I wear them all!

Can you tell us what we can look forward to for the Fall Jafa collection? Fall 2016 is all about color! Our top boot colors coming in are green, red and yellow. Short booties are trending more now than ever and we have some terrific new styles on both our platform bottoms and our lower profile bottoms.

Jafa Karen, Saagers and Jim
Photo credit Jafa

Picture taken at Northwest Market Show, Portland, OR.  Shown from left to right are  Deidre Nyburg-Saager, Karen Crivelli –Jafa CEO, Ron Saager and Dan Simas – ArcopedicoUSA.

Each buying season, Ron Saager, President of Saager’s Shoe Shop, along with store manager, Deidre Saager-Nyburg, work with Karen at the Northwest Market in Portland to discuss trends and customer needs, and now they want to hear from you! Join us here at Saager’s Shoe Shop to meet Karen as well as Dan Simas of Acropedico on Saturday, from 10 am – 3 pm. Take advantage of our trunk show specials, both Saturday and Sunday, and enter to win a free pair of shoes from Jafa or Arcopedico!


Jafa Trunk Show with CEO, Karen Crivelli

Saager’s Shoe Shop is thrilled to host our good friend, and Jafa CEO, Karen Crivelli on May 21st for the Spring/Summer Jafa Trunk Show! Just six years ago, Karen discovered the amazing shoes and cobblers of Israel while on vacation. She was so taken by the comfort and quality that she purchased 17 pairs and said shalom to all the other shoes in her closet and started Jafa. Jafa takes inspiration from the colors of Israel and still practices the cobbler techniques that have been established in Yafo, Israel for hundreds of years.

Jafa footwear has taken the US by storm and can be found at retailers nationwide, offering quality, comfort, and style for every occasion.  Saager’s Shoe Shop is proud to carry two Jafa styles, #685 and #622, both of which are exclusive to our store and available in a large selection of color options.

Each buying season, Ron Saager, President of Saager’s Shoe Shop, along with store manager, Deidre Saager-Nyburg, work with Karen at the Northwest Market in Portland to discuss trends and customer needs, and now they want to hear from you! Join us here at Saager’s Shoe Shop to meet Karen as well as Dan Simas of Arcopedico on Saturday, from 10 am – 3 pm. Take advantage of our trunk show specials, both Saturday and Sunday, and enter to win a free pair of shoes from Jafa or Arcopedico!

Earth Brands Giveaway!


Earth Brands philosophy is simple: To truly feel your most comfortable, you must also love the way you look. That’s why Earth Brands offers a wide range of footwear brands with two things in common — great style and state-of-the-art comfort.

Join us this weekend, April 30th & May 1st for our Earth Brands trunk show when we will be featuring our collection of Earth, Earthies and Kalso Earth footwear.  Our representative will be here on Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm to give us the “behind the scenes” information on these amazing brands.

We are giving away a pair of Earth Brands.  Enter by leaving a comment telling us what type of shoe you are most comfortable in.  Sneaker, loafer, clog, flat sandal, boot, mary jane, pump…   The winner will be announced Monday, May 2nd.

Style Guides on Pinterest

Once again Pinterest has proven to be a valuable resource.  This time with how-to style guides for shoes and jeans. A search for “shoes jeans guides” resulted in a fantastic selection of “how-to” guides on several style issues relating to shoes and jeans.

Some were poster style guides with easy to read recommendations and others were tutorials with great photo visuals.

This is a great poster style guide to help decide what style of shoe to wear with what type of garment.Shoe Style Guide

Here is a great tutorial found on the blog Advice From A 20 Something. The Proper Way to Roll Your Jeans.  Includes step-by-step instructions on how to roll a cuff on several types of jeans with a few shoe options.  Cuff Style GuideThis style tutorial found on described the do’s and don’ts of cuffs when wearing ankle boots with jeans.  Ankle boots are more popular than ever and can be worn with several jeans and cuff styles to suit your style.Cuff dos and dontsFind these and other great style guides for jeans on our Style Guide Board on Pinterest.pinterest logo

Hello Mate! Blundstones Are Here!

Blundstone work boot arrived this week and we love them!  Area winery employees love to wear these around the rocky soil found in our area.  These boots are incredibly durable and able to stand up to the wear and tear of working outside.  The design allows for quick and easy slip on and off.  If you are looking for a rugged boot with classic styling, look no further.  Stop in and try a pair on!

S14 Blundstone

Pedicure Dos and Don’ts

S14 Birkenstock bannerSandal season is upon us.  For many of us that means we need to direct a little attention to our toes.  Perfectly polished toes peeping out from summer sandals are the finishing touch to complete your outfit.  The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has pedicure recommendations to help you keep your feet feeling and looking their best.

Infections and fungus are big problem makers with feet and toenails.  Keeping the work area and tools clean are of utmost importance. Try to schedule your pedicure in the morning.  Foot baths are typically cleanest first thing in the morning.  The salon should be well ventilated as bacteria thrives in a moist environment.  Towels and pedicure tools should be freshly laundered and sterilized for each customer.  Bringing your own tools for your pedicure is a great way to keep any infections or fungus from your feet.

Here are more APMA recommended pedicure dos and don’ts for your next pedicure whether it is at home or in a salon.

APMA Pedicure Dos and Don'ts
APMA Pedicure Dos and Don’ts