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View Julianne Moore in Sven Clogs! Style # 09-223 Black Leather - Black Base - Brittany / Swedish Medium Heels!
7-23-2012: Mpls St Paul Magazine By Allison Kaplan:

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Another MN Brand You Should Know

We’ve celebrated, we’ve analyzed, we’ve enthusiastically gushed about our hometown heritage brands as they enjoy the ride from function to fashion. You know the story: tried and true Minnesota-based brands that come from humble roots and practical beginnings, quietly churning out quality product for decades until finally, the fashion industry starts talking about the value of American made products, and Barneys New York decides rugged is chic.

The trend–which, really, has transcended trend to become a movement, a timeless style, a way of life–has benefitted many Minnesota brands, and you can probably name a half dozen off the top of your head. Let’s do it together: Duluth PackJ.W. Hulme Co.Faribault Woolen Mill Co., Red Wing ShoesMinnetonka Moccasin, and for the bonus round:Itasca Leathergoods.

But there’s another local manufacturer busy filling orders for New York fashion brands, while remaining totally under the radar at home. Sven has been hand crafting traditional Swedish clogs in Chisago City (about 40 miles northeast of Minneapolis) since 1974. Much of its product is private label, which is why few know that the family owned company makes clogs for fashion brand Loeffler Randall, Manhattan boutique and online store No. 6 and  J. Crew.

A new local partnership could raise Sven’s Minnesota profile: Pumpz & Company, the Galleria shoe boutique, commissioned Sven to produce an exclusive collection of clogs made with fabric from Pendleton blankets. Pumpz will launch the Western-inspired line, which includes clogs and boots, at a Back to School fall kickoff event this Thursday, July 26. Prices range from $170 to $375. A representative from Sven will be at the store from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to showcase the line and finally start to spread the word about the brand at home.


This entry was posted in FootwearMN fashion designersTwin Cities retailWomen & Men's Fashion and tagged by Allison Kaplan.

6/5/2012: Read a 2 Part Interview With Marie Rivers, by Lindsey Cochran

Featured Designer: Marie Rivers of Sven Clogs, Pt. 1 - Every Clog Has Its Day

Featured Designer: Marie Rivers of Sven Clogs, Pt. 2 - Every Clog Has Its Day

On the Road: Sven Clogs   Sven Clogs was featured on "On the Road" with Jason Davis. 3/4/2012

 Chisago County Press 10/26/2011

Wood-soled footwear is the hot new fashion statement and Sven shoes riding the wave


Press Release 10/26/11 001Many people might have hung up their tools-of-the-trade after three-plus decades, but not Marie Rivers.  In fact, she and her close-knit employee family at Sven’s Shoes are actually shattering sales records. Next spring they hope to be expanding the building on Hwy. 8 in Chisago City to improve and streamline the manufacturing process to meet consumer demand for the hot “new” fashion trend; wood soled footwear.  
J. Crew stores-- famous as where the First Lady shops-- this year ordered 16,000 pairs of Sven clogs.  The clog-of-choice is high grade leather sprayed a shiny gold (P.S. metallics are hot).
When an actor dons a pair of Sven clogs in a popular movie the next thing you know the Sven shoes website is on-fire and the shop is bustling.  Sandra Bullock wore a pair of Sven clogs in the movie Lakehouse and the response was insane, said Rivers.  
Sellers of Sven clogs can be found from New York City to Boulder, CO to California.  Customers have been known to fly to Minnesota, buy Sven clogs at local prices and save enough money over East and West Coast retail to pay for the trip.  

Rivers  credits her collaboration with a NYC designer, who has her ears to the ground and her eyes on peoples’ feet. The creative process the two enjoy helps to keep the shoe line spontaneous and fresh. There are some parts of the clog production process that can’t be messed with,  but Rivers has learned to go with the fashionista flow.  If a customer wants thigh-high tubes of sheepskin atop wood soled boots Rivers can help make that happen.

Press Release 10/26/11 002So, how is it that a clog shop formerly housed in an outbuildng on a farmstead near Wyoming, has become this contemporary sensation?  
For one thing, people who wear clogs know how great they are.  Feet don’t sweat in real wood clogs, they breathe and wood is a natural wick for moisture.  Clogs provide support.  Clogs can be slung low or  you can buy wood bases that add three or four inches to the wearer’s height. You can get them in sandal style or lined with toasty warm sheepskin.
The custom aspect also gives a boost to Sven’s success.  Combinations of tops and bottoms,  styles and designs defy limit.  Stuff can be added...metallic finishes spray-applied... straps, buckles, and decorative material.  You can punch  the leather tops with eyelet-leaf-petal patterns or add laces for fun.  
Shelves in the manufacturing space at the Chisago City Sven’s are lined with tons of imported leathers, patent leathers and sheepskin.  An artisan had even provided the shop with a bolt of her specially made wool that will become the tops of a limited edition of shoes and boots.
This creative aspect is also one of the reasons why employees dig their work.  They tell a reporter that making this footwear is a satisfying thing to be part of.  Plus they appreciate working for Rivers.  In response she says the team is “incredible” and she never could have grown the company without them.  (There are 21 regular workers, 10 or so are fulltime.)
Rivers explains that there’s just two clog manufacturing companies in America and Sven’s is the industry premier.   Her philosophy is that she won’t ship a pair if it isn’t something she’d be proud to be standing right beside a recipient, when they open the box.
The Internet had a role in the Sven success story too.    
Press Release 10/26/11 003Rivers said they got on the web ( about seven years ago and sales exploded.  They re-launched a jazzed-up site in September.   “We can turn the order around quickly,” she explained of Internet shopping. “I think that’s been really important.”

The wood shoe bases arrive in Chisago City from Sweden or Austria by the truckload.   Each base is inspected and then hand-sanded for a perfect polished finish.
Clogs today can be noisy or silent.  If you like the “cluh-clunk” sound that wood makes on hard ground, great.  But soles also have rubbery bottoms applied to silence the clog, that provide grip and improve stability.

At the clog-making shop in Chisago City the clog (the upper part) starts out as a flat pattern that the die-cut operator makes for each shoe.  
The upper takes its shape around a form, after soaking and steaming.  
Cubbies in the shop are filled with wide, narrow, deep and shallow foot forms for shaping the uppers.   
Say you have a high instep, Sven’s can adjust for that when forming the shoe, by adding a little extra to the piece that goes over your foot arch.  
Sven shoes are all reinforced with a product inside (toe stiffening) so the front doesn’t collapse.
Depending on what goes into a particular item  -- it can take four or five people and a few days to make each pair. (Some materials need two days in the dryer room alone, following steam shaping.)   

In 2010 the store on Hwy. 8 put out 22,000 pairs.
“We are way ahead of that already for this year,” said Rivers.  
Not bad for the young woman who landed a job 33 years ago at a small clog plant and realized she loved making clogs; married the guy named Sven, got divorced and bought him out.

Printed with permission from Chisago County Press, 10/26/2011


For more information about or (specific news, product, etc. in the release), please call 651-257-4591.

Sven Comfort Shoes
10,000 Lake Blvd
PO Box 370
Chisago City, MN 55013
Toll Free: 800-243-7836
Phone: 651-257-4591
Fax: 651-257-8311