Why did we choose the name “Nisolo,” and what does it mean?
Coming up with a name to fully represent the colliding worlds of Fashion, Philanthropy, Sustainable Development, Consumerism, and Poverty Alleviation was not at all an easy task. At one point in time, over sixty different names were being considered for what would become “Nisolo.” Finalizing the decision took quite some time, and in fact, at one point last year we had hundreds of shoes already made yet sitting still because they lacked a name!
Nisolo means “Not alone” in Spanish. But, why did we choose this name?
Feeling the pressure to make a decision , the vision for the name “Nisolo” came to Patrick, one of Nisolo’s Founders, on a hot afternoon while riding to one of the shoemaker’s homes in a packed-out combi, a form of Peruvian public transportation. He thought, “What is at the very core of what we are trying to do with project?” “What do we want to say to the developed world, and what kind of sustainable impact are we aiming to have in the developing world?”
Upon asking himself these questions, Patrick thought back to his time as an international studies student at the University of Mississippi. He remembered a poster that he would pass by each day on the second floor of an old renovated building on campus. The poster was a picture of a globe, but rather than being filled with all the countries and continents of the world, the only country on the map was the United States, dead-center and all alone in the middle of the ocean. The strange picture draws attention from time to time, but what stands out the most is the phrase underneath the image: “We are not alone.”
Sometimes in the developed world, we get so caught up in our individual lives or in the lives of celebrities and popular culture that we forget about the rest of the world. We do business in a manner that stresses efficiency and mass production. And as consumers, we demand immediacy, and if we don’t receive it quickly, we move on. But is this always a good thing? What if the truth of the matter is that if we would only take a few moments to think twice about our choices, we could have a very positive impact on the rest of the world?
Back to the combi on that scorching afternoon..
What is at the core of what we are trying to do with Nisolo? In the United States, we want to build a brand that fuels the growing movement of conscious consumerism. Our hope is to cultivate a change in the attitudes of those in the developed world (me and you), not just in the way that we consume, but also in the way we teach, learn, lead, give, and do business. Each of us must continually be conscious of the fact that we are “not alone” in the developed world, and that the effects of our choices on the rest of the world grow exponentially every single day. That impact on the rest of the world can be very positive or it can be very negative, and our hope is to offer our consumers a chance to make a very positive impact with their choices without having to sacrifice price, comfort, quality, or style in order to do so.
On the flip side of being “not alone” in the developing world, the most important thing we want to convey with the Nisolo brand is that there is an immense amount of talent and potential that exists among impoverished entrepreneurs around the globe. They also are “not alone.” We want the Nisolo brand to constantly strive to bridge the gap between these two worlds. Our goal is for the quality, style, and comfort of our products to reflect the talent that exists among producers in the developing world, thus showcasing their ability to newer, much larger markets in the developed world.
We live in a time period where there are more and more brands emerging everyday that enable us to make a very positive impact on the world without having to sacrifice our usual desires as consumers. Why then, would we ever choose to support a brand with mass produced products that primarily benefit only those at the very top of the production pyramid? If you can still get what you want, why would you not choose to support brands that are making a difference in the world?
The choice is ours to make:
Will we consider the positive or negative impact we can have with our purchases?
Will we begin to think about the origin of our products and how they are made?
Will we begin to realize that we are “not alone” in the world?
Ni nosotros ni ellos están solos…Nisolo.