At 29, Brian Smith decided that a life in Public Accounting was not for him. He quit his job and went to California to look for a new business idea and to surf all the legendary breaks such as Malibu. Soon, he noticed that there were no sheepskin boots in California, so he and his friend, Doug Jensen brought six pairs from Australia to test and so, UGG was born in 1978. Throughout the years, Brian built it into a national brand and solidified himself as a business expert.
Brian Smith was living in Santa Monica, California after studying at UCLA. Smith and Jensen first applied to be the United States distributors for the Western Australian sheepskin boot manufacturer, Country Leather. Unhappy with the brand, Smith trademarked UGG.
Later, family friends invested into the venture and the group set up Ugg Imports. In their first season in business, Ugg Imports sold 28 pairs of boots. Sales steadily grew and they set up Ugg Holdings Inc. and in 1985 registered a US trademark on a rams head logo with the words "Original UGG Boot UGG Australia".
The company gained international attention after the boots were worn by the U.S. Olympic team for the 1994 Winter Olympics. In 2003, UGG boots were included on Oprah Winfrey's show as part of "Oprah’s Favourite Things". Afterwards, the brand received an unprecedented surge in sales. In 2006, UGG opened its first store in New York.
UGG products are manufactured in a number of countries but continue to source most of its sheepskin from Australia. UGG had prided themselves on using the best materials and employing an uncompromising attitude toward quality and craftsmanship. From grade-A sheepskin to rich leather and industry-leading technology, all of UGG's materials are carefully selected and artfully crafted with beautiful precision.
Its collection of home goods launched in 2013 and included products such as rugs, blankets, pillows and other home pieces. UGG Home Collection inspired by the relaxed glamour of California lifestyle, the collection offers luxurious accent pieces that add soft decadence to any living space.
UGG partnered with designer shoe brand Jimmy Choo in 2009 to launch a capsule collection combining the brands' styles. The following year, UGG debuted a collection of boots designed in collaboration with Swarovski.
In June 2015, UGG has announced a collaboration with Pixar. The company launched a capsule collection reflecting Pixar’s film Inside Out, and have produced Disney-themed boots featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell.
In 2013, various Vogue editors wrote about wearing UGG boots following testimonials by fashion figures such as Alexa Chung and André Leon Talley who posted about their UGG boots. The shoes have also been spotted on celebrities including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
UGG believes in the empowerment of all people, the preservation of the planet, and crafting products that are made to last.
UGG has also adopted their own set of sustainable development goals, 7 By 2027, which focus on categories where UGG believes they can make the most impact – Waste, Water, Materials, Chemicals, Climate & Clean Energy, Human Rights, and Gender Equality & Quality Education. UGG's sustainable development goals are guardrails of their program, and help keep them focused on making a difference.