Many people recognize Soludos for its summery espadrilles, but founder Nick Brown is less well-known.
Brown launched Soludos in 2010 as an homage to the traditional rope-soled espadrilles he wore growing up while on vacation on the Spanish coast. The name is an amalgam of “salud” (cheers) and “sol” (sun).
A London native, born to a globe-trotting diplomat and a fashion model, Brown essentially had stylish travel wear in his blood. So, when he moved to New York City in 2008 and struggled to find shoes similar to those he’d grown up with, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Nick Brown, the founder and CEO of Soludos
Though many brands have jumped on the espadrille bandwagon today, Soludos was one of the first to offer a well-made, fashion-forward selection. Soon after its e-commerce launch, the brand was picked up by specialty retailers like Ron Herman and Steven Alan, followed by three collaborations with edgier Opening Ceremony.
Today, the line can be found in department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as well as over 250 boutiques across the country. It has grown from selling one flat espadrille style to over 20 different footwear silhouettes, ranging in price from $42 to $160.
This success is, in part, due to its numerous partnerships (Mara Hoffman, We are Handsome, etc.) and an aggressive influencer marketing strategy. The brand has worked with over 20 top fashion bloggers, including Courtney Trop of Always Judging and Julie Sarinana of Sincerely Jules by sending them on press trips and collaborating with them on campaigns.
Brown gave us a play-by-play of one of his recent, busy days.
Recent product from Soludos
7:15 a.m.: I wake up and start my day. I like to take this time to stay unplugged, catch up on the news and read the industry papers. I’m fortunate that I live and work in SoHo, so I walk down the road to catch breakfast before heading to the office.
8:00 a.m.: I like to start each day with a full breakfast. It’s the time when I can read and try to think high-level before getting stuck in e-mails and more of the day-to-day stuff at the office. I head down to Sant Ambroeus and sit at the bar. Mr. Lee [the man behind the bar] and I go way back, so he knows my usual: a cortado and an omelette. Each morning, I read through Business of Fashion, Fast Company and The New York Times.
9:00 a.m.: I arrive at the office and catch up on emails. I also take this time to review our performance and site traffic for soludos.com. In addition, I prep for our weekly office meeting with the whole team. We are a tight group of 28, and it’s important to me to have our entire team updated on what’s going on across departments.
10:00 a.m.: The team gathers in the front of our showroom for the weekly meeting, and each department takes time to speak about what they have going on at the moment. I like to discuss key highlights from each team and get everyone excited for the week ahead.
May is our busiest season of the year, so there’s a lot to cover. Our summer collection has just launched online and in stores, and we’re getting some early reads that our new floral mules and Minorca sandal styles are hits, and we need more stock. We also just launched bags for the first time and are thrilled with the outcome. Our customer service team — or “Solsquad,” as we call them — had some callouts on our banded sandal, so we are improving our design for next season by adding more support to the heel.
Recent product from Soludos
11:15 a.m.: I meet with our digital marketing team to review all upcoming content across platforms, including emails, website billboards and social posts. We use this time to brainstorm content and copy for each channel and plan our upcoming marketing calendar. We’ll also review the analytics on Instagram and e-mail engagement from the prior week.
The content photos from Lagos, Portugal, featuring our three Merida bags, are stunning. We loop in our design team to help us speak to all the unique design details and craftsmanship that have gone into the collection.
Noon: After reviewing our content for the week, I grab a kale salad to go from By Chloe and bring it back to our communal lunch table. When we first moved into our office last year, I wanted an open space that fostered collaboration. Our communal lunch space features customized art decals from one of our artist partners, Jason Polan. I love to spend this time catching up with the team about their weekend and any upcoming travel plans.
1:00 p.m.: We’re currently reviewing spring 2018 shoe and bag design prototypes, so I meet with Karen Ruenitz, our creative director, and Jessie Kritt, our designer, at a table overflowing with beautiful samples. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the products evolve and take shape. The samples are covered in pencil and tape, indicating the fit adjustments needed to improve and adjust for the next round. We’re constantly asking the rest of the team for their opinions and feedback on the prototypes, too.
3:00 p.m.: Part of our team is currently shooting our summer campaign on the island of Ischia in Italy, so I give our marketing director, who’s on location, a quick call to check in. It turns out they were able to source a vintage Fiat in Ravello for the shoot and have been blessed with three days of sunshine, so I can’t wait to see the results!
3:30 p.m.: I check in with our international sales team. We have a two-month-long pop-up shop at Selfridges in London right now, featuring our vintage mint Piaggio scooter. I went over for the launch event last week, but the Piaggio actually didn’t fit in the store’s freight elevator, so we had to take it to an auto shop and break it down into smaller pieces before reassembling it on the shop floor at midnight. Now it looks glorious, surrounded by about 300 fake lemons, pompom garlands and our latest summer collection. Having grown up in London, it’s surreal to be working with the city’s most iconic store.
Blogger Jules Sarinana of Sincerely Jules in a Soludos campaign
4:00 p.m.: I grab an acai bowl — I have a slight addiction — and take this time to scroll through Instagram. Jules Sarinana of Sincerely Jules is currently doing a takeover on our Instagram. She is such a style muse and inspiration for us, as well as a beautiful person. It’s great to see how she styles the new collection.
4:45p.m.: I head out and grab a coffee from Happy Bones. I like to leave the office at least once a day to get some fresh air and have some time to myself.
5:00 p.m.: The team starts setting up for a craft night, so I head into the front conference room, put on my headphones and respond to a few time-sensitive emails.
6:00 p.m.: We have a fun, DIY collaboration with Wool and The Gang. They sent over a few kits and instructors to help us knit — half the team is learning how to crochet bags and plant hangers. We’re actually hoping to host another event like this in a few weeks and open it up to our customers.
7:45 p.m.: I head to the gym for an hour and unwind. I keep everything pretty local and go to the Equinox in Soho.
8:45 p.m.: Dinner is at Domo Domo, my favorite sushi spot in the city.
11:00 p.m.: Finally, I’m back home and ready to settle in for the night.