“I just always wore tofflor,” he says, referring to clogs as tofflor rather than träskor as they are also known. “We had a toffelmakare (a maker of clogs) in Ängelholm who made them by hand, and I often helped him. I saw the entire procedure, how he cut out the leather and all.”
With a suitcase presumably packed with tofflor, Jan came to New York in 1973 to work as a banker.
“Nobody wore clogs in New York then. I tried to have manufacturers in Sweden help me sell them here, but nobody was interested.”
After twenty years of banking, Jan left both the banking business and New York for North Carolina, where he got himself a commercial driver’s license, and became a truck driver instead.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had! I don’t ever want to quit,” he says. “I’ve driven over the Hoover Dam and on the Las Vegas Strip, I’ve parked my 18 wheeler behind Caesar’s Palace. I’ve driven in Los Angeles and in San Francisco, I’ve driven through 45 states, I’ve seen so much.”
But he couldn’t quite let go of the thought of the clogs. Maybe it was those long hours behind the wheel that made him decide to try again to find a Swedish manufacturer. He finally found his man in Kalmar.
“I found this guy in Ugglebo, who made tofflor and he gave me the sole right to sell them in the U.S.”
The Ugglebo clog is handmade and has a wooden base, and according to Jan’s Web site it will bring your entire family “foot comfort and joy.”
“I began selling them over the Internet in 2000,” Jan continues. “I still only sell them online. It’s a business my wife and I have built up. And I sell not only to America, but to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, England, France ….”
And who wears clogs? The answer is: “People who are on their feet.” Ugglebo’s clog has an orthopedic insole, which makes it perfect for people in the medical profession, like nurses. But just about anyone today wears clogs. There are also sandal styles with heels that make for really pretty footwear for women.
“In the 1970s clogs were popular in the U.S., especially in the Philly-area,” says Jan. “Then it died out, but now they’re having a comeback. We have a new clog coming out soon, a clog with a higher heel for ladies.”
And there are clogs with perforated leather, in suede, with a pretty floral pattern, and in embossed nubuck leather — a clog for every foot.
For more info: