Australian director of Indosole, Nick Riley, speaks to Shoe Trader about how the business has evolved since the beginning and why its entrance into the Australian market didn't work five years ago.
How has the Indosole product changed since the business began?
Before where we're at now as a business, the [shoes] were handmade.
So for that eight to nine years, we were cutting out the rimming of the tyre and literally gluing it onto the bottom of these clunky shoes – which were probably not the best for your back – but the idea was there and that's what people loved.
Now we have new factories where we can evolve our materials and the way we actually reuse the tyre.
We put it through a machine now, crush it down to a powder and we inject it into a foot mould. So we have the arch support [and other important elements in the shoe.]
All of the rubbers we use that surround the actual tyres [are] all natural rubbers, all plant based, so you're not getting the skin irritations from the chemicals from enhanced rubbers.
We're also a B-certified business, so we meet all those rigorous standards as far as our factories, to our products, to our materials, to our staff. The company became that in 2015 and we try and promote that as much as possible.
Indosole was born in Indonesia, why hadn't it come to Australia before?
[That] was the first thing I said to them, I [said], 'how have you guys not gone into Australia? It's right there.'
I think they actually did try and do it about five or six years ago – not to the extent that I'm doing it now – but they did come down with some samples and they saw some shops through connections that they had and stuff but the timing wasn't right.
It feels like right now, there's so many different avenues that are working for us and I can see our brand fitting into and I don't think that was quite there when they came five years ago to do it.
Especially the whole environmental side of things. If you said you were trying to do that five years ago people would laugh in your face or would sit there and go, 'well you're an outsider, no-one's going to buy that.'
But now the tables are completely turned in the way that if retailers aren't stocking some kind of sustainable brand or they're not doing some sort of organic line, people leave that in the dust.
Things are starting to happen that way, that's why I think that the response has been so positive. People have been legitimately wanting to stock us and want to be involved which is really cool and I think five years ago it wasn't that.