Buster Brown Shoes

Buster Brown and his rather creepy looking dog, Tige.
Buster Brown and his rather creepy looking dog, Tige.

Started in 1878 by three businessmen buddies, George Warren Brown, Alvin L. Bryan, and Jerome Desnoyers, the brand proved to be the originators of classic Mary Jane shoes.

Brown was the lead owner, who was always thinking of starting a business and gained lots of experience as a traveling businessman, learning through the profiling of his customers. The information proved valuable when he eventually started his shoe manufacturing business.

In 1893, Brown’s partners retired, leaving him full control of the business, known as the Brown Shoe Company.

And in 1904, at the St Louis World Fair, Bush, an employee from Brown’s company, spotted the works of cartoonist Richard Fenton Occault, who sold rights to his comic characters. One that caught the attention of Bush was a young boy named Buster Brown with his pet dog, Tige.

The character named Buster Brown had a childhood sweetheart by the name of Mary Jane (she went on to market the line of strapped girl shoes) and Bush decided that it would be an effective marketing technique to purchase the rights of all three characters for the Brown shoe brand.

The move proved a hit and Bush eventually became the boss of the company, who led it through tough times in the 20s and great depression when societal fashion and economies were changing along with worker wage disputes.

In the 1950s, Buster Brown shoes began initiatives in purchasing retail outlets to expand its business and in 2015, was renamed Caleres, which means passion in Latin. The originator of the Mary Janes and manufacturer of quality shoes continues to succeed as a multi-billion-dollar footwear company.

Buster Brown Shoes, 1950s


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