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Carly Burnett, founder of TKEES

Meet Carly Burnett, founder of TKEES.

Her sandals are the “sweet spot” of summer footwear. They are - in essence - perfect. The kind of perfection you might take for granted because of their simplicity. But TKEES stand alone, in their attention to detail, to the fit being just so exactly right, to the array of colors. 

When you see a pair of TKEES, you just know.  When you see someone wearing her TKEES, there is a flicker of connection, of understanding, a feeling that you might just have more than a little something in common with her, that you are kindred in some way, and you like her even if you don’t know her.

This is the world of TKEES.


Created by Carly Burnett, who, on a vacation to St. Barths with her husband Jesse, walked along the beach, toes in the sand, and watched as the tide brought the ocean up and over her feet, leaving in its place a light dusting, ultimately sparking the idea: there is a need for a simple and nearly-bare sandal.

TKEES was born.


Q: Tell us, when the idea came to you, did it feel like a “lightning bolt” moment? Or had this been an idea that was brewing in your mind?

Lighting bolt moment 100%. I couldn’t find anything I liked. I wanted something that was simple, sophisticated and would almost disappear on your feet – that’s how Foundations started.


Q: What do you think is the most important factor in starting, running, and growing a business?

Absence of fear — and a commitment to your idea.

Q: TKEES has more than a look and a feel to it; it has a heart and a pulse. Your ethos of making this world even more beautiful by celebrating individuality inspires us. How has this informed your collection and your business model?

We developed it with the idea of being inclusive. The concept of growing it — and celebrating individuality — was, and is, authentic to us.

Q: Slip your feet into something that feels like you. As life gets complicated, how do you remind yourself to stay in this authentic zone? 

By knowing who you are. That’s the heart of it.

Q: We love the names of your sandals! Some recent Helen Jon team-favorite TKEES are: Emoji, Hammerhead, Pretty Pearl, Moonshine, and Sandbeam. What is the inspiration for these names?

Our collections are inspired by many different things. For example, Emoji was inspired by my daughter Sienna, who loves playing with the emojis on my phone.


Q: Tell us about your new Foundation Bar. You have created a “nude” sandal for a world of women who don’t all look exactly the same. Now, every woman can pick the nude that is most becoming to her.

Foundation Bar -- TKEES

With the TKEES Foundation Bar collection, we’re celebrating the beauty in diversity by offering nude sandals for all women. It’s comprised of nine different shades — from Seashell for light porcelain skin to Deep Glow for dark espresso skin.

Q: Do you have something — a favorite quotation, a drink, destination, book, or song — that best represents a summer or TKEES state of mind?

One Love – Bob Marley. On repeat.

Q: There is an elegance and pure minimalism to TKEES. It’s that feeling when you arrive somewhere and everything is perfect, effortlessly so. Was there a time when you thought, “aha, eureka, we’ve done it,” only to realize that nope, that wasn't it and back to the drawing board you must go?

There’s a lot of trial and error involved. That said, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  

We love the vibe of TKEES. You have created and given all of your TKEES fans the possibility for a life full of unforgettable moments, of unplanned adventures, of happiness at home and afar. Thank you!

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