Okabashi Brands Inc., a Georgia-based shoe company, will create 340 new jobs as they reinvest in their existing facility in Gwinnett County and grow.
“Okabashi Brands reflects the true spirit of Georgia business: innovative products, a hardworking and skilled team, and an unwavering sense of community,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Okabashi not only stayed open for business during the pandemic, they continued to grow and donated thousands of shoes to frontline workers. We’re proud Okabashi calls the Peach State home, and we look forward to their continued growth.”
Okabashi Brands is a third-generation family-owned and women-led shoe company based in Buford, Georgia. Established in 1984, the Georgia Made certified company has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes directly to major retailers, via ecommerce, and to major contract manufacturing customers. The company is one of the 1 percent of footwear manufacturers operating in the U.S. today.
Okabashi is committed to sustainable American manufacturing. Okabashi sandals are 100 percent recyclable and contain on average 25 percent of recycled content. They are recognized by the USDA Biopreferred program and are made of 45 percent soy by weight.
“Okabashi Brand’s commitment to our community and its people is one that dates back to the 1980s when my grandfather chose to bring his footwear manufacturing background to Georgia,” said Sara Irvani, CEO of Okabashi Brands. “The support from our community has fostered our growth and has allowed us to continue producing quality, American-made footwear. We are thrilled to be contributing to the local economy through this expansion.”
Okabashi Brands is located at 4823 Roy Carlson Boulevard in Buford. The company will invest over $20 million over the next five years, and the renovations will add new manufacturing lines and increase production by 100 percent. Okabashi is hiring for positions in manufacturing and distribution, and interested individuals can learn more and apply at www.okabashi.com.
“Okabashi Brands epitomizes the Gwinnett Standard, excelling in integrity, service, and stewardship,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson. “We appreciate their commitment to philanthropy, sustainability, and most importantly, supporting our vibrant community.”
As part of their long history of philanthropy, Okabashi Brands has donated over 100,000 pairs of shoes both directly and through a partnership with nonprofit Soles4Souls. Culture is a major focus for the company, which embraces diversity and has a strong track record of creating careers for its team members. Earlier this year, Okabashi received Partnership Gwinnett’s Movers and Makers: Manufacturing and Supply Chain Award for Corporate Citizenship based on their community involvement, educational partnerships, and workforce development.
Senior Project Manager Kristen Miller represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this competitive project in partnership with Partnership Gwinnett, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Power, and Georgia Quick Start.
“I am excited to see a family-owned, homegrown company continue to create jobs and reinvest in Georgians with an environmentally friendly and community-conscious approach,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Okabashi Brands understands the future of manufacturing lies in investing in sustainable practices, giving back to the community, and elevating a skilled workforce from the ground up. I am grateful to our partners in Gwinnett County and the Quick Start program for providing our Georgia companies with the support they need to succeed.”
Okabashi is part of the state’s Georgia Made program. The program was created in 2019 to celebrate the people and industries that manufacture a wide variety of products across the state. Companies accepted into the cost-free program join a roster of distinguished manufacturers that continue to shape Georgia jobs and the global supply chain. Further, Okabashi Brands received a GLOBE Award from GDEcD’s International Trade team in 2020 for entering new international markets in the previous year.
About Okabashi Brands
As a third-generation family-owned and woman-led company, Okabashi is proud to be in one of the remaining 1% of U.S. footwear manufacturers. Since 1984, the company has been making footwear in Buford, Georgia. Okabashi Brands includes three lines: Okabashi, Oka-B, and Third Oak, as well as a turnkey contract manufacturing operation. With a mission to champion sustainably Made in USA footwear, the company is a pioneer in circular manufacturing practices and developing bio-materials. Additional information on the Okabashi story and career opportunities can be found at www.okabashi.com.
Katie Byrd – Director of Communications
Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp
Andrew Isenhour – Deputy Director of Communications
Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp
Marie Gordon – Director of Communications
Georgia Department of Economic Development