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Spotlighting Jeff Henderson for Father's Day

Posted on June 15 2020

Jeff Henderson | Ally Shoes

With Father's Day quickly approaching we wanted to spotlight someone who has played a role in Ally shoes and who also happens to be a father, Jeffrey Alan Henderson. Jeff is the Founder of AndThem and Good Follow along as he talks about his career, entrepreneurship and being a father. Thank you Jeff, this feature was inspiring and we love the advice you give at the end.

Ally: Nike, Cole Haan - some pretty stellar shoe experience, tell us more about some of those experiences and how they shaped you to where you are today?

Jeff: Every place I’ve worked had people that mentored, challenged, supported and listened to me. Sometimes it was the majority of the folks and sometimes I had to seek leaders and peers that made a difference. In the beginning you feel as though you’re part of a big machine and trying to learn more than believing you can contribute. I’m empathetic to that journey and hope that the work our agency is doing supports creatives that want to impact the world around them.  


Ally: You played a role in Ally shoes product development. Tell us more about how you brought Ally to life.

Jeff: When Sam approached me I understood that the best thing I could do was align her mission with creatives that had the professional expertise to find solutions for her consumer as well as common experiences in life to support and challenge her ideas without judgement. 

Dr. Roxanne Clark worked with me on Cole Haan Innovation and Sara Jaramillo worked with me on Yeezy. I hoped that they would connect - not just because their women of color - but because I respected their temperament for early stage projects and founders. I was thrilled to see how integral they would become to the brand and the business. 


Ally: As an entrepreneur now, we'd love to hear more about the brand you founded

Jeff: While our creative agency - AndThem - has expanded in corporate work, so has our responsibility to the community in which we call home: Harlem. Through we’ve chosen to bring our various creative skills to businesses and nonprofits in our neighborhood. We believe that brands and businesses that want a diversity of solutions also want to see their impact in real time. Our partnerships are intentional and we think Ally has been helpful in our success. 

Ally: As a creative, what inspires you and how do you search for inspiration? 

Jeff: I like to surround myself with problem solvers in various industries. When I hit a wall in my work I like to have meaningless conversations with people that are constantly building new ideas in their head. Invariably the meaningless turns to meaningful and I’m ready to understand the walls that were previously unsolvable. 

Ally: In honor of Father's Day, as a father yourself, how do you balance family time and professional time? Or is there even a balance.

Jeff: Honestly my work/life balance means that I’ve dragged my sons into my creative pursuits. Most of our life revolves around dying clothes, painting shoes, designing kitchens, refining recipes and studying brands. Sometimes work takes over, but I’m not afraid to have my 13 year old color shoes in Adobe Illustrator. Our family’s chores are the family business so the balance is probably broken.

But I encourage every kid out there to help their fathers at work, especially if they’re at home now. I never saw where my father worked because it was some top secret government facility. My kids have been at my desk since they could walk. They don’t have to imagine what I do all day. They’ve lived it. From Beaverton to Tokyo to Calabasas to Harlem. 
Hopefully their future therapy sessions will be kind to me. 
Good things. 


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