Monday, October 25, 2010

The winner of the Junior League Raffle and a complimentary Monogrammed Strawberry Blonde Make-up Bag is Sarah Garcia!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

By Lola Thelin Previous
After years of working for her uncle's
business Stephen Bonanno Sandals,
26-year old Jamie Leigh Castro launched
her line of shoes called Strawberry
Blonde this year.

Some people are born into a career.

Jamie Leigh Castro is one of those lucky few. She spent her entire adolescent life around shoes, thanks to her grandparents and, later, her uncle. It was only a matter of time before the 26-year-old decided to try her hand at designing a line of shoes.

“My grandfather, Benny Bonanno, was a cobbler, and he and my grandmother Eva designed Stephen Bonanno Sandals. As a child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in their shop, stacking dye jars and dressing dolls in leather my grandma would give me,” explains Castro.

After her grandfather passed away, Castro’s uncle Stephen Bonanno took over the family business, and one summer he offered her a job at the shop. Then 10 years old, Castro began learning the twists and turns of the business. She swept floors and helped customers by placing small orders. “About 10 years later, my Aunt Vivian opened a Stephen Bonanno Signature store and hired me as their store manager," she recalls. "I spent a full year learning the business and studying color before realizing my dreams were right in front of me. I worked very closely with my Uncle Stephen on concepts, and by the following spring I had a sketchbook full of designs.”

This year Castro launched Strawberry Blonde, a collection of 100-percent soft leather ballet flats, ranging from sizes 6 to 12. They sell for around $250 and come in two designs, the Renee and Vivian, which features a monogram. Like her family’s business, Strawberry Blonde shoes are also custom-made at the Stephen Bonanno Sandals factory in Stuart. Castro personally designs, cuts and hand-crafts every pair of Strawberry Blondes that she sells. “My main inspiration, of course, would have to be my uncle, as he’s taken a small family sandal business and turned it into what it is today,” says Castro, a West Palm Beach native.

Currently, the line offers ballets flats and a leather clutch in 12 colors—lime green, gold, pink, gray, red, black and more. Castro is working on a line of high heels for the spring line. “Originally, when I started designing the ballet flats they were to accompany the heels I’m designing and take your look from day to night," she says. "The heels are still in the works but the flats just seemed to take off on their own.”

The high fashion and comfortable ballet flats are perfect for the everyday woman. “I like to say my woman is fun and flirty but still has a life; she is taking the kids to school, running errands and having brunch with the girls. I love how fashion can make someone feel a certain way, like slipping on that perfect pair of shoes can transform a woman.”

To purchase a pair of Strawberry Blonde shoes or clutch:

Stephen Bonanno Sandals
319 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach
882 SW Enterprise Way, Stuart




Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby Shower...

My girlfriend Shalyn is having a baby girl in a few months, so for her baby shower I made a pair of size 2 ballet flats in coral!! She absolutely loved them :)

I've named the baby ballets after Izabel and you can order them in any of the SB colors or have them monogrammed! They retail at $105.00 sizes start as small as 2.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Strawberry Blonde in Key West...

"I wore my coral strawberry blondes every day in the keys!!"
Michelle- Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Photo Shoot...

Just in case you missed the pictures from the photo shoot I posted on the facebook page here they are again...  It was a long and HOT day but everybody worked it and gave me some beautiful shots for the website! I have some amazing friends :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open for Business!!

We are finally up and running!! I am still adding and tweeking the site so please check it out and let me know what you think :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Working on the website this week :) 

This is a first for me, and Im trying to have it run as smoothly as possible. Does anyone have any insight or tips? Or even any pet peeves when it comes to shopping online?? I would love to get your feedback...


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Vivian- Monogrammed Flats

After much anticipation the Vivians are here! The Vivian is a monogrammed ballet flat hand-made with 100% leather in your choice of colors and initials... Perfect for women of all ages, bridal showers, wedding gift for the bride or even as bridesmaids gifts!

Named after my beautiful Aunt Vivian!

Whether your taking the kids to school, running around town or having brunch with the girls these light weight comfy flats are just what you need to get the job done in style...

The Vivians will be available for custom orders on my website this week. Stay tuned :)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sneak Peek...

So here's a little sneak peek of what's to come at Strawberry Blonde!

The Eva in platinum iguana has a 4.5" heel and a 1" hidden platform. Notice the "Strawberry Blonde" hue that will be added to every SB sole :) 

I love love love these simple yet elegant pumps and I cannot wait to wear them around town!
I pulled a few different looks that will take you from casual to all dolled up...


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beachin it...

The factory is closed today and Im taking a break to relax by the beach with my son Hayden! Something about the ocean air and sunshine always put me in a good mood :) With Memorial Day right around the corner, this gives me an excuse to work on a little color. Plus, weekends are best spent playing in the sand and soaking up some rays...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All Things New York...

Oh New York... how I love thee...
Anyone who's been to this amazing city knows you can't leave without being inspired in some way. The streets are brimming with art, culture and fashion. Even though I don't live in the city, I often dream of the crazy, fast paced lifestyle of Manhattan.

Some New Yorkers who Inspire me

Carrie Bradshaw

Cliche as it may be, the fabulous and eccentric style of this New Yorker has two generations of women in awe! And you must admit we all have a little inner Carrie...

Serena Van Der Woodsen

This Gossip Girl is one of my favorite upper east siders... She mixes elegance with bohemian chic and her look is always sexy yet relaxed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Uncle Steve...

My Uncle Steve has been a huge inspiration to me growing up. He took the business my Grandma and Grandpa started in the 60's and turned it into this amazing brand name... Women of all ages, all over the world rock his sandals and know he is the best!

He gave me my first job, the summer before 6th grade :) teaching me the importance of hard work and responsibility... He was also the first person to see my sketches when I decided to join the family business! From the start he has been right beside me showing me the way, and for this I am grateful.

Thank you Uncle Stevie!!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Inspiration...

My Grandparents (Benny and Eva Bonanno) have always been an inspiration to me. They started The Bonanno Sandals back in the 60's and always told us we could do anything we want in this world. It just so happens, I want to follow in their footsteps...

My Grandma and I today at the factory... She stops by every week or so to catch up and to see whats new! Today I showed her some of my samples and a new pair of monogrammed flats I'm working on :) Even after all these years she's still very enthusiastic about the business and inspires me in more ways than one.

I love you Grandma!!


Friday, April 30, 2010

My First Pair of SB Flats...

Finished up my FIRST pair of flats today :) They took me a few days to complete but I did it... After some trial and error, un-stitching and re-stitching and at least a hundred questions for my uncle I think Im getting the hang of things!! The pattern still needs some tweeking, but not too shabby for my first pair if I do say so myself :) As soon as I perfect the flats I will put them on the website! Stay tuned...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fingers Crossed...

SoOo I was having my morning coffee the other day when the phone rang... It was my Uncle Steve, who said he had good news for me. After a few rounds of, "Uncle Stevie's the best in the world..." (he would make my brother and I say that when we were younger to get out of choke holds! LOL) he told me he thinks he found someone to make my shoes!! A man who used to work with him a few years ago is moving back to Florida in a few months. He is very good at what he does and should be back in May or June so we will talk then, but this is exciting :)

You all have been on this roller coaster ride with me over the last year, and I think we are due for some GOOD NEWS!! fingers crossed...


Friday, April 16, 2010

Learning From The Best...

I had so much fun today at the Stuart Factory... I started on a pair of size 7 flats in platinum iguana!! With my Uncle Steve helping me along the way I got a lot done. I cut the patterns, stamped the insoles, skived the leather and stitched the uppers and lining together... I must say, the perks of having such a talented uncle are not too bad ;)