Handmade Espadril: A touch of the Med
Published: 9th Feb 2022
Patricia Terre is Spanish. With local Rizqah Isaacs, she co-founded Handmade Espadril in 2014. She studied fashion styling at Central Saint Martins in London and both worked in retail with first line and luxury brands for years. "We lived surrounded by some of the most exclusive brands in the world, which taught us everything we know about quality."
What is the inspiration for your brand/styling/concept?
Our aim is to nurture and maintain the old traditional way in which espadrilles were made for centuries in the Mediterranean countries, specially Spain. An art that has mostly disappeared.
Do you sell via social media only or do you also supply retailers?
Social media is the face of your business, we focus a lot on ours, it is the key for brand communication. We get most of our direct sales from this, although we have a number of retailers around South Africa and some other countries in Southern Africa. We have also just started selling in the U.S.A where we have a distributor and we are most excited about this.
How dependent are you on the tourist trade?
We used to be very dependent on the tourist trade. When Covid 19 hit South Africa we quickly had to find a way to adjust, which was challenging and difficult but we feel lucky that this happened as it forced us to evolve into a much better version of ourselves.
Do you manufacture or source locally or do you import?
We import the jute soles from Spain and most of the other materials used are sourced locally. The manufacturing process happens here, at our studio in Cape Town.
If you manufacture locally, are there any problems with availability of components and/or services, and what are they?
It was very challenging at first. We did a lot of research and drove around for hours trying to find the right suppliers for leather, packaging, laces and everything else we need in order to produce a proper shoe. But after doing this for 7 years we found our way around it. Still, mostly everything is imported and we are at the mercy of Customs most of the time.
Do you need any assistance to grow your business, and if so, what and from who?
In our case, due the artisan nature of our production, it is difficult to scale up. We are focusing on this at the moment. We will soon partner with a manufacturer in Spain so we can increase our production capacity. We are also wanting Espadril to become a global brand. We want girls around the world to live the Mediterranean dream… We are looking for international partners and distributors to help us achieve this.
We intend to continue a small part of our manufacturing line here in SA.
Do you see the opportunity to increase that? Yes, definitely.
This article s part of a series of articles that are published in S&V Footwear & Leather Goods Magazine
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