Free standard shipping on orders over $100

A portion of each sale goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

We strive to have all orders fulfilled and shipped within 7-10 business days

Your cart

Your cart is empty - August 2016


A line of Tennessee-made shoes brings a family business to fruition.



One might think there isn’t much professional common ground between a Metro teacher, a retired Air Force member, and a corporate healthcare executive. Yet, those were the professional backgrounds that three members of the Potter family brought to a totally new business: shoe manufacturing.

Norm Potter and his sons, Trent and Heath, left their day jobs in 2014 and bought Brentwood Shoe and Luggage Repair. They transitioned the well-respected business into a new store, Southern Polished. Although they benefited from, and still appreciate, the customer base that came with the acquisition of Brentwood Shoe and Luggage Repair, the Potters had a vision for a niche to be filled.

“So many shoes these days are disposable,” Trent says. “Fifty years ago, there were many shoe manufacturers in the U.S., but, now, there are few left. So many shoes are made overseas. Many sandals don’t make it through a whole season because the straps pull apart, or the soles come unglued.”

The Potters’ vision was a line of handcrafted sandals and flip-flops made in Tennessee, using leather from the Tennessee Tanning Company. Their line is appropriately called Potters. “When we tell customers our shoes are handmade, it piques their interest,” Heath says. “Not that many products are handmade, and especially locally, anymore.”

In just two short years, the store has grown to four full-time, and one parttime, employees. In addition, the Potters’ signature line is not only selling in their store and on their website, but it’s being carried in local boutiques. Recently, the Potters’ line was named a semi-finalist in Garden & Gun Magazine’s “Made in the South” awards.

The Potters attribute much of their success to word-of-mouth and social media promotion. “Our wives have managed our social media and gotten the word out,” Trent says.

Southern Polished just released its 2016 line of Potters flip-flops and sandals, and the family has even more ideas on the horizon. They have started ordering leather from Europe and eventually want people to be able to come in and design their own sandal. They are currently working on a line of ballet flats—entirely handmade, of course. There will be only 10 of each flat, each one numbered and unique.

Still, it makes a person think about the circuitous route that took the Potters from education, healthcare, and military venues to shoe design. The common thread, they say, was their love of shoes and clothes.

“We’ve always been very old school and preppy,” Trent says. “We moved a lot as kids and went to high school in Europe. We were amazed by the artisanship over there. We sell a book called A Gentleman Gets Dressed Up, and that pretty much describes us.”

It seems there is no dull day in the “office,” either. Supermodel and local Nashvillian Niki Taylor bought a pair of Potter sandals and tweeted about it, and coach Butch Jones from the University of Tennessee came away from Southern Polished with orange and white flip-flops. In addition, the Potters did a shoe-manufacturing demonstration for a home schooler.

After spending a few minutes with the Potter men, it’s obvious that success is not their only agenda. The store affords them the opportunity to run a family business—and to be together. “I was in the military for 35 years,” Norm says. “I wasn’t home much, so it’s particularly rewarding for me to get to be with my sons.”

7018 Church St. E., Brentwood; 615-377-4644;