In an effort to reach his dreams of business success, Joe Ammon decided to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
A native of Northeast Ohio, he earned an accounting degree at Case Western Reserve University before moving to New York City to work at one of the country’s top financial firms.
He ultimately decided to pursue his master’s degree at the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and was determined to learn the tools to launch his own business.
“My goal was to find a real pain point and create a business to solve a problem,” says Ammon.
Though his original business idea was a tech product, he noticed another issue that needed solving — this one much closer to home. Ammon’s wife, Tamara, was buying shoe after shoe, trying to find just the right footwear that could keep up with her daily life as a nurse.
“I suddenly got very excited about making footwear for health care professionals,” says Ammon.
First, the shoes needed to be comfortably durable. On average, health care professionals walk roughly 60,000 steps a week. The shoes also needed to be easy to clean, odor resistant and easy to slip on and off.
After assembling a team of designers, the prototype quickly came together featuring easy-to-clean vegan leather and a machine-washable insole.
All the new sneaker needed was a name.
Inspiration came when the couple was driving on that long Pennsylvania slog back to their Philadelphia home after visiting family in Ohio.
Ammon offhandedly mentioned an ongoing joke about the shorthand notation that medical professionals make on charts: a “C” with a line above to mean “with.”
“We put together that notation with the word love,” says Ammon. “With love.”
And Clove was born.
The brand launched just a few months before the pandemic hit, and Ammon couldn’t keep shoes in stock.
Luckily, his supply chain held strong, and Clove sneakers found their way onto the feet of health care workers around the world, earning distinctions such as one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2021.
Looking ahead, Ammon is excited to introduce a wide range of designs, giving wearers a way to differentiate themselves when everyone is in the same scrubs. From the Nebula with radiant orange soles to the Juniper Berry of forest colors, these are not your standard-issue nurse’s footwear.
A highlight for Ammon is health care workers expressing their thanks. “We know we are making a difference with Clove,” he says.