“I went away to college having absolutely no doubt that I wanted to come into the business. I graduated from OU on a Saturday and started working here on Monday,” said Eric Harrison. “That was 29 years ago.”
For Harrison and his brother Kai, joining the family shoe business, the Remac Group, was a no-brainer. And while the company itself may not be a household name, one of its brands will resonate with Preston Hollow residents: J. Reneé.
A staple in Preston Royal Village for the past 17 years, the boutique supplies local women with unique heels, flats, sandals, and handbags. Named after the Harrisons’ mother, Joyce Reneé, the brand that started it all when Reneé and her husband Micky founded the company 37 years ago is finding new companions on the shelves.
In early June, the brothers, who took the reins of the family business in 2008, launched four shoe lines at a New York trade show, adding shoes from Kay Unger, Phoebe by Kay Unger, and L’Amour Des Pieds alongside new designs from J. Reneé. Eric and Kai acquired the three other brands within the last year, expanding their reach beyond their classic original brand, all of which can be found at Nordstrom, Zappos, and Dillard’s, among other stores.
“We want to give more value than what the customer is paying for. In all of our shoes, the design aesthetic is that we make designs that are forever. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily classic,” said Kai. “Fashion changes every year, but style never changes.”
The Remac Group has every style covered, from more traditional occasion shoes with J. Reneé to comfort-focused options in L’Amour Des Pieds, and kitschy youthful offerings through Phoebe by Kay Unger.
But it’s the family connection that makes the Remac Group such a successful company, according to the Preston Hollow natives.
Eric, Kai, and their parents all live within a three-mile radius of one another.
“Learning from our parents was interesting growing up. Because they were husband and wife, the board meetings they would have would be in the bathroom and the kitchen,” said Kai. “We’d love to figure out every aspect that we could of how they did what they did.”
A cousin, Coby Spark, serves as the chief information officer, and the siblings’ aunt recently retired after years in sales. To the brothers and to their parents, that family extends even beyond blood.
“There are people still here who have been here since the very beginning. It’s a testament to the culture that our parents built,” Eric said.
Take Marcy Bass, who started at the Remac Group 26 years ago, traveling with Reneé as her assistant. Now, she works as the liaison between sales and product development and has no doubts about her decision to stay with the company for so many years.
“I came from a large corporate environment, and the culture here is just different,” she said. “We have fun every single day because we enjoy each other, we have a mutual respect for each other, and we all believe in the brands.”
At least 75 percent of the company’s employees have worked with the Harrisons for at least 20 years.
“Our parents ran their business completely differently from everyone else. They just built a reputation in our industry of being honest, being friendly,” Eric said. “And I think that’s their legacy.”