Monday, Meet Zoe | Nisolo

Monday, Meet Zoe

Happy Monday to all!  As part of our second installment of the Monday Meet series, we would like to introduce you to one of the founding members of Nisolo, Zoe Cleary:

Zoe comes to Nisolo having grown up in Santa Barbara, CA but has lived in many other places all over the world.  She did her undergraduate work in Oregon at Willamette University with her junior year spent at El Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.  After starting a small, boutique Swimwear Company, Acqua Sabbia (focused on bringing back the vintage look of cotton swimwear from the 1960’s and working with women seamstresses in a small, rural town of Mexico to do so), she realized she wanted to learn more about the fashion industry and moved to NYC to do just that.

[caption id="attachment_283" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Bikini's from Acqua Sabbia"][/caption]

She completed her M.B.A in Fashion Management at LIM College and landed herself a job working in the fashion industry in NYC.  She soon realized, however, that she found herself most excited about fashion companies with a cause behind them.  Brands such as FEED, Mend by Invisible Children, Krochet Kids, and Falling Whistles inspired and motivated her.  Right around the time that she was contemplating a career adjustment in this direction, a friend told her about a college friend, Patrick Woodyard, who was in the middle of formulating a social business focused on handmade shoes in Peru.  After a few skype conversations and a trip to Peru, Zoe found herself packing her bags in New York and heading down to Peru to help get Nisolo off the ground.

[caption id="attachment_288" align="aligncenter" width="288" caption="Zoe at the Mendez Shoe Shop"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_279" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Zoe with Patrick, Eliseo--Nisolo's Peruvian Manager, and Sandi--who we appreciate as one of Nisolo's most valued supporters"][/caption]

There are a number of things that draw Zoe to Nisolo, but she notes a few aspects in particular.  From working side-by-side with the producers to create quality yet classic, timeless products to seeing the results of those products come to fruition in the shoemakers homes, Zoe's love for the project has continued to grow. Events like watching the meager tarps of the shoemakers' homes become sturdy walls or seeing them formalize their businesses and export for the first time are what motivate Zoe to work hard for Nisolo's success. Overall, she notes that her greatest love is "getting to know our shoemakers, seeing the progress in their homes, and watching their families and vision for Nisolo grow."

[caption id="attachment_284" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Zoe with Patrick and one of the Nisolo producers"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_289" align="aligncenter" width="288" caption="Zoe packing sandals for the first shipment"][/caption]

When Zoe isn’t working on something Nisolo related, she loves the outdoors and being active. Hailing from the California coast, she loves to surf and also enjoys hiking, playing volleyball and soccer, growing, picking, and eating fresh fruit and veggies, and listening to live music. She also loves to travel, as she notes “traveling to remote areas was instilled in me at an early age, as my family moved from Hawaii to Australia to California, my dad always in search of the next, undiscovered wave.” Among Zoe’s favorite places she has traveled include Itacaré--a surf town in Northern Brazil, Colombia, the Greek Islands, and of course, Trujillo, Peru—the birthplace of Nisolo.

[caption id="attachment_282" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Zoe catching a wave!"][/caption]

As Zoe puts it “what’s better than being able to create products you’ve sketched in your head for years alongside talented, dedicated and motivated craftsmen, while also contributing to education programs in those neighborhoods?”  We couldn’t agree more, and we couldn’t be more thankful to have Zoe on the Nisolo team!

Thank you for “Meeting Zoe this Monday.”

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