A pair of Maddox & Co. white sneakers with an orange sole. Photo by Noah Washington/The Atlanta Voice

The journey of Maddox & Co. started off as a heartfelt tribute to her late grandfather turned into a passion-driven business venture for Bivins Bibbins. 

Growing up in the close-knit community in Americus, Bivin’s experienced the joy of spending quality time with her grandparents. Her grandfather, Henry Maddox, Sr., who Bivins describes as a “renaissance man”, left a lasting impression on her with his impeccable style and dignified demeanor. Maddox dressed elegantly, never owning jeans or sneakers, and inspired Bivins to carry herself in the same manner. Unfortunately, her grandfather fell ill, diagnosed with a terminal illness, which made dressing up uncomfortable for him to continue. 

Her grandfather’s illness served as a turning point for Bivins, sparking an idea that would later become the foundation of Maddox & Co. In her pursuit to create stylish and comfortable shoes, Bivins embarked on a journey of research and exploration into the world of shoe design and manufacturing. Guided by her grandfather’s memory, she sought to craft footwear that combined both style and comfort, catering to people with special needs or health conditions that impacted their footwear choices. 

“The way that he dressed was the way he carried himself, he didn’t own jeans, didn’t own sneakers, all his clothes, went to the dry cleaners and anytime that I saw him dressed down, he was going to work,” Bivins told The Atlanta Voice.  “I grew up around that and wanted to carry myself that way, dress like that. So that was always in me growing up in school and in my early adult life.”

After spending several years serving in the United States Navy and for large tech companies, Bivins realized that her true passion lay in creating a brand that would not only fulfill her dreams but also honor the memory of her grandfather.

Bivins knew what she wanted to do after a dream where her grandfather appeared dressed to the nines, donning stylish pinstripe suits, Stacy Adams shoes, and a wide brim hat. In August 2013 Bivins decided to start Maddox & Co. with the vision of creating a legacy brand in mind.

Bivins explains that the brand’s focus is on timeless collections of shoes that transcend generations, designed to withstand the test of time. From classic loafers to elegant dress shoes, the company aimed to become a household name, synonymous with quality and sophistication. However, her goal is to simultaneously build a legacy for her family and the community, much like the iconic brands, Allen Edmonds and Bass loafers.

Running a startup while juggling a full-time position at Microsoft presents its challenges. Bivins acknowledges the struggle to maintain a work-life balance, but her determination and belief in the brand’s potential keep her focused on the future. 

“I want this to be a legacy brand,” she said. “When you think of loafers, I want Maddox & Co. to come to mind. That’s the type of business that we’re building. We’re creating timeless collections of shoes that will withstand the test of time. Right now, in 2023, you can look back and see that these same types of shoes were worn back in 1963 when my grandfather was moving around in his younger days, but also when we look ahead in 2050, the same styles will still be around.” 

You can visit the Maddox & Co store at https://www.themaddoxbrand.com/ or in person at 151 Spring St. NW in Atlanta.