If you read my first post, then you understand why I was so happy to stumble across Allbirds! Similarly to my problem the founders of SOAK shoe company found that the morning and end of the day commute is tough on people’s feet, specifically women! I couldn’t imagine walking 10 blocks and taking the subway every morning in high heels, that would truly be torture. That is how Michelle Vale and Elana Corsano came up with the idea of comfy, eco friendly, stylish sandals for “women on the go!” In doing my research I found a very informative and interesting article in Forbes title “SOAK Is A Little, American Made Shoe Startup Trying To Solve A Big Problem” which helped me get a better understanding of the company.
Interestingly, the process started when Vale called up Corsano with an idea of creating a chic and comfortable pair of slides that Vale wanted to add to her wardrobe. According to Forbes magazine, Corsano was a believer from the start saying, “She hooked me on the idea.” Once they both agreed the idea was a good one they got started on what the essentials for the flip flop would be. First they wanted their end product to be foot friendly, attractive, made in America and eco friendly. The co-owners found that G&G Product in Main would be the best at fulfilling all their wishes, and after 14 months they had their product! Now they are the proud co owners of Soak Slides which are made out ofphthalate-free PVC, durable, recyclable, and washable and also have arch support.
Being a startup shoe company the biggest challenge that SOAK was dealt with was funding. Therefore in 2015 they started a Kickstarter to try and raise awareness for their product and money. They successfully raised about $26,000 in about month mainly because they offered many incentives for people who invested. For instance according to the Forbes article, they offered Incentives like a different pair of slides in ever color for a $500 or $1000 donation. A major benefit for entrepreneurs that co-own or co-found is that their partner often times has skills that they may necessarily not have. For instance, the Kickstarter did well in part of the fact that Corsano use to be the head of a Marketing agency called “Arsenic 9.” Along with donations from both Vale and Corsano, SOAK started with about $90,000.
The next biggest challenge SOAK was faced with and still is trying to solve is the e-commerce side of their business. According to the article the company has only sold 300 pairs of shoes online. Which Corsano says, “Which is nothing compared to a well-known brand.” However, the two are very optimistic and using their connections like all entrepreneurs should!
Apparently the two have a friend on Wall Street, who is trying to find some comparable suitors to invent and take SOAK to the next level. The article feels that SOAK wants to globalize their brand and go more towards the realm of life wear, with the sandals serving as the main corner stone or pillar.
All in all, SOAK has done a textbook definition of evolving through a very entrepreneurship approach. It started with a good idea, which evolved into a wishlist, then a final product, then required funding and use of various marketing strategies and now is growing more and more. I think that for these reasons SOAK embodies the Entrepreneur Spirt.
Thanks For Reading!
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