The Sbicca company was founded in 1920 by Ernesta and Frank Sbicca, in the kitchen of their Philadelphia home. A seamstress and shoe laster by trade, this Italian couple was introduced by their neighborhood priest. Cultivating love and a business together during the Depression wasn't easy but the couple thrived on adversity: the Sbicca brand was a labor of love. Creating dressy pumps, boots, and leather-soled shoes for the masses became the family business.
Their son, Arthur Sbicca, grew the company, expanding into larger factories and at one time employing more than 600 workers making up to 6,000 pairs a day. His sons, Frank Sbicca Jr. and Peter Sbicca went off to train for the war in California. Sun, warm weather, and a fondness for a new way of life, prompted the brothers to convince their father to move the business to California.
In 1945, Sbicca Handmade in California was born. In Southern California the company focused on sandals and the gladiator style in particular, which was emerging as the "It Shoe" of the 1950s and '60s. The company embraced the Bohemian, California beach lifestyle being one of the first companies to use jute, rope, and woven fabrics in their hippy-style wedges and producing them in a rainbow of bright colors. Sbicca revolutionized the shoe business when they began producing their "Molded Unit Bottoms" out of polyurethane in the '70s.
This gave Sbicca the competitive advantage of producing footwear on a lightweight, flexible bottom that is fashionable as well as comfortable. All Sbicca styles include double padded insoles and genuine leather or hand-woven Jute uppers and are eco-friendly, using vegetable-tanned leathers and water-based adhesives. The shoe industry took notice. Once based solely on the East Coast, Sbicca and other California-based companies brought the shoe business to the West Coast dominating the culture with sandals, wedges, bright colors and new styles.
In 2010, the Sbicca Handmade in California brand was purchased by another family-owned business, Palos Verdes Footwear. Founded and run by the Lovely family, PV Footwear believes in supporting the long-standing quality behind the Sbicca name. Merging with a broader based company has created a new Sbicca customer. She is younger and looking for fun, retro styles with a bohemian-hipster feel.
The Sbicca Vintage collection offers that aesthetic. Now under the watchful eyes of Don and Sean Sbicca, the brand remains in the family with shoe cobblers still hand-making styles in the Los Angeles factory. 92 years of shoe making has produced a successful history of creating fun, stylish footwear made in the USA.