What do I Wear with: the shoes from the re-souL collection?

For this week’s What-do-I-Wear-Wednesday, we thought it would be fun to show some styling suggestions with the help of our friends, Cat, Chika and Amanda over at shopvelouria.com. Velouria is a beautifully curated shop in Ballard specializing in lovely, small production, independently-made clothing, jewelry and accessories. Chika and Cat enjoy creating meaningful relationships with their talented designers from the Pacific Northwest and we are so fortunate to have them as neighbors. 

Velouria was recently featured in a blog post from Seattle’s Poplin Style and had borrowed some shoes from re-souL to style with their clothing. Since we just launched our very own re-souL collection, we thought it would be a great opportunity to show you some fantastic apparel suggestions on how to wear our new spring shoes!

So what do you think? Love to see more? Click here to check out more from Velouria and here to visit re-souL..

the re-souL “bret”

Last week we officially launched our new re-souL shoe collection for women. It’s a big step for us to launch our own brand and yet to us, it seems like a natural progression. Over the past 12 years in our shop, we are honored to have met countless customers and friends and we have a pretty good feel for their look and their style. Recently, in our travels to the marketplace and to trade shows, we have these customers in mind and it just felt like their needs are not being met by the usual brands. So it makes sense to us, with our background in shoe design, to take it to the next level and design our own collection.

Our shoes are very much styled after specific people that we know and love. Everyday basics, stylish and comfortable, they are up-to-date and available in colors because that’s what she wants to see. For the next few weeks we will regularly feature a shoe from the new re-souL collection. We’ll portray a personality of someone we know that inspired the design of the shoe.

 

re-souL bret

This shoe was inspired by our dear friend Bret. Bret’s background is interior design but she is a woman of many talents and has style to spare. Bret is all about her family and keeps them close. Her favorite color is white, she has a weakness for chocolate and she is never far from her iPhone. A diligent planner who is always on the go, she is constantly juggling projects, chasing kids, writing letters or baking. No matter the task, she makes it all look easy. She is on it and her style reflects her confidence. She is a gal who always looks put together in her sophisticated neutrals of black, white and taupe, even when she is not trying. Her accessories are modern and reflect her design esthetic, clean and simple. This shoe is for the woman on the go and she knows what she likes, she knows she looks good and her secret is that she feels good too!

 

To see more of our re-souL collection visit resoul.com.

 

 

What to Wear With MOMA 12407 Monkstrap

Each Wednesday we’ll answer the ongoing question: “What do I wear with these?” It’s a question we get quite often here at the shop and we love giving suggestions when helping our customers. This week we feature the Moma 12407 Monkstrap for men.

What to Wear With MOMA 12407 Monkstrap

The hottest style for guys this Spring is the monkstrap shoe. We thought we would show you two ways to wear them, dressy and casual. The nice thing about this MOMA style is that you can easily dress it up or down. Treat them as you would an oxford. Wear it with a spring suit for the office on the weekdays and then for the weekends wear them with jeans and a pullover sweater. We love the “no socks” look. Come on, you can totally pull this off!

Items from re-souL:

> Moma 12407 monkstrap in tan leather, made in Italy
> Aunts and Uncles  Buddy Post bag in Hazelnut
> J Fold Flat Card Carrier wallet in black
> Stance seamless and mercerized cotton “Hyde” socks
> Stance invisible cotton socks
> Alessi “Luna” stainless wrist-watch.

To view the other items featured along with their links as well as more outfit pairing suggestions, check out resouL’s profile on polyvore.

Creating the re-souL Collection: Design Process

This post is a continuation from a previous story “Designing a re-souL Collection: What if?” 

Back in July of last year, we had the idea of “what if we designed our own women’s shoe collection?” It was a question that became the answer to our initial dilemma. How do we remain relevant, novel and exciting in a constant changing global marketplace?  As a small business, if we want to continue to grow (let alone survive) we have to be willing to change and  creating our own shoe collection just seemed like a natural progression. So we set forth on this journey and we’re ready to share our story.

In our shop, we constantly felt there was a void in our offering for seasonal “must have” styles of shoes. I wanted to create a capsule collection for Spring that would help fill in some of those missing items that our customers were always asking for; like the perfect ballet flat, the essential lace-up oxford, an everyday sandal. You get the picture.  So I started to do some research, collaborate more with our customers and ultimately started to sketch.

shoe sketches

A couple of drawings in my sketchbook.

I will admit it had been a long time since I sketched a shoe. Too long. My first couple of attempts were less than stellar.  But as I continued to keep drawing, it started to come back to me and I remembered what is was like to create patterns, soles, and toe shapes. I really enjoyed using my sketchbook again and was inspired to keep drawing.

Once I had all my ideas and sketches completed, I started to think about colors and the collection’s palette. I created mood boards with images and swatches. I lived with those boards for a couple of weeks and played with the colors, and then narrowed it down to what I felt would be important for the spring season.

A few weeks later, I was ready to put all of my ideas to work at a factory. So, I enlisted the help of our agent and friend in Italy, Cristina. Why Italy, you may ask? First and foremost, they are the best at making shoes hands down. Second, I wanted to work with a small factory that would be able to produce small quantities and manufacturing in other countries just isn’t an option for us. We hope to offer shoes that are beautiful and a good value, we believe Italy is the best place to achieve this.

Mood Boards

Since Cristina and I have worked with each other for years, I knew she would be able to help us find just the right resources. So in late October, I booked my flight and planned to leave armed with my sketches and mood boards for Florence. When I arrived I was anxious, nervous and excited all at the same time. The first night I could barely sleep. It was exhilarating to think that I was going to create something that hopefully would be special to our shop and our customers. I couldn’t wait to get started!

That week, Cristina would pick me up at my hotel every morning and we would make our drives to Lucca and visit the design studio, the suppliers, and the factories.  We would sit for hours at a time collaborating with the modellistas to come up with the right constructions. We would know if all went well once we received our initial samples, which would take a couple of weeks to make. So, I left Italy crossing my fingers that all went well and then it was back to Seattle to await the samples.

IMG_1985

Lucca, the design studio, the factory

When we finally received the initial prototypes it was like opening a present! I could not wait to see how everything translated from a sketch to a 3 dimensional item. Some styles turned out great, others not so much. I refined some patterns and asked for some tweaks. Not everything always turns out the way you expect and that’s okay too. You learn to weed out what would be “nice to have”versus what you “must have”. What’s worth the time to re-visit and what should be “lascia perdere”,  Italian for “forget about it”.

So again, it was up to the manufacturers to get things right,. We were sent round two of confirmation samples to approve. We chose the styles, wrote the orders and all went into production. That’s pretty much it! So now we wait for the collection to come into the shop and online this March. We cannot wait to see what you think!

Designing a re-souL Collection: What if?

Well, here we are well into 2014 and we have some exciting news. Starting this spring, we will be selling our very own re-souL shoes for women! It is something that we have been working on for quite some time and now that the shoes are almost here, we are hopeful, a little bit nervous but very excited to share our story with you.

As I am typing this, our shoes are in the process of being manufactured in Italy. But long before this point,  it all started with a question. “What if we designed and sold our own shoe collection?” What if?

re-souL shop

inside our re-souL shop

Eleven years ago, when we first started our re-souL business, it had come at a time when I was ready for a change. I had worked in the product development division for a major department store. Basically, I got to design and sell shoes to our buyers. I really loved my job. I was in charge of forecasting major shoe trends for the American market, I designed and developed new shoe collections for the private labels. I shopped major cities, travelled to Europe, Brazil and China and worked with shoe factories. It was my dream job!  But after 7 years, all that travel had taken its toll and I really wanted to slow down. Legh and I had just been engaged and I didn’t want to be away from home 150 days out of the year anymore.  That was when I had my first “what if” moment. What if I quit my job and we opened our own shoe store?

Color and Mood Boards

color inspiration board and sketch book

I had seen many great shoes and shops from my travels. I wanted to be able to bring some of those things I saw to Seattle. I wanted to carry shoes that you could only find from travelling abroad.  Opening our own shop was fun, exciting, scary and it was the best decision we ever made. We were a different kind of shoe store, special and we loved it.

Fast forward a decade plus. Our little shop has grown a little over the years. We have a website, we have developed strong relationships with our  brands. We have amazing and loyal customers. We have an awesome staff. But we want to keep growing. How do we compete in a constant changing global market? How do we help our team grow with us?  How do we keep challenging ourselves and grow creatively? It’s only natural to ask these questions, don’t you think?

sandal sketches

first round sketches

The answer popped into my mind like the proverbial light bulb going off. Out of my mouth came the question, “What if we designed our own collection of shoes?”

I knew we could do it,  so I immediately started to sketch. I started envisioning colors and materials. Visions of my re-souL gal started popping into my head too. What was she like? What does she like to wear? What’s her style? What is missing from her shoe collection?

As we began to discuss more and more about this, the idea became a goal and the goal became the plan.  So this spring we will be selling our re-souL collection for women and we really hope you’ll like it. We are so excited to show you!

Next time, Part 2: Creating the re-souL Collection: Design Process >>