Here at Ellicott & Co, we’re committed to providing you with high-quality, heritage-inspired goods that keep you looking on point. This commitment requires countless hours of finding quality brands to bring to the shop, especially ones that are guided by makers who value timeless good looks as much as we do. One new brand that we are delighted to introduce in the store is the mission-driven startup, Nisolo. Their shoes showcase a craftsmanship and attention to detail that we love. As we learned the story behind Nisolo, we felt a kinship with the brand, it’s founder, and the phenomenal shoes they produce.
As an undergrad, Nisolo founder Patrick Woodyard studied Global Economics & Business and spent a fair amount of his time traveling the globe learning about the impact that international business can have on the world. Shortly after graduating, Patrick moved to Peru where he pursued an opportunity in microfinance. During his time there, he discovered a vast talent in the country for handcrafted shoes. These shoes were made with age-old techniques and technical skills which made the shoes more of an art form than just a regular boot. As Patrick followed up on his discovery, he learned that these highly skilled craftsmen didn’t have the means to produce enough shoes to provide for their families, and that the global fashion industry didn’t have space for solo producers like these.
This discovery was an epiphany for Patrick; he believed there was a better way to produce shoes that still offered an effortless, classic style. But, unlike the competition, he was convinced shoes could be manufactured in an ethical manner, which included supporting the artistic shoemaker themselves.
This led Patrick to start Nisolo alongside co-founder Zoe Cleary, whose background was in the multi-billion dollar fashion industry. She was unhappy with the lack of overall care and attention about the way clothing and shoes were produced, so starting Nisolo with Patrick appealed to her. Nisolo’s vision perfectly encapsulates their desire to make a difference in the fashion sector.
Patrick and Zoe live out the goals of Nisolo every day in a couple of ways; the factories they manage, their factory partners, and even the impact their production has on the environment.
As they opened their own factories, they decided to create a prototype for sustainable business manufacturing. “To serve as a model for the industry, we built our own facility from the ground up where all producers receive, at a minimum, the following: beyond fair trade wages, healthcare, and a healthy working environment.” This commitment has helped Nisolo bring prosperity to their employees, with most making four times the wages they would make in a similar factory job. They also teach their employees financial literacy, so they can make smart choices about what do with their new income.
Nisolo’s impact goes beyond just fair wages, it is serving as a catalyst for their employees and their entire families. “Looking ahead at the impact on future generations, we are proud to share that 100% of our producers’ children are in school. And, of the children now in university, 100% of them will be first generation graduates.” Nisolo saw a need and is purposefully doing their part to help change the way products are produced overseas.
Brands like Nisolo are the reason why we started Ellicott. From the beginning, our shop has always been dedicated to showcasing the talent and craftsmanship of makers in our community, across the USA, and now even around the globe.
Stop by our flagship store in the heart of downtown Lancaster and try on a pair of Nisolo's for yourself. Personally, we haven't taken our Emilio Chukka Boots off since we got them. For more info on Nisolo and the work they do, check out their social impact report.
P.S. If, you missed our last blog with our update on American made products, read it here.