A LETTER FROM OUR CEO
Dear Nisolo Community,
With so many of our lives already turned upside down, I’d like to start by saying “thank you” for taking a moment to read this note. I think we’re all struggling to find the right thing to say right now. Honestly, we’ve struggled as a brand to determine how to approach the past few weeks and the months to come. Everyone’s needs seem to be changing by the hour. Some of us are looking for helpful resources to get us through the day...others are in need of a mindless escape, and some just need some silence in their life, which we completely understand.
Some good news though is that there hasn’t been a time in recent history where the entire world has been more united (albeit through a common enemy) than it is right now. From celebrities to government officials to even royalty across the globe, COVID-19 knows no limits. Those who only a month ago had zero in common can now relate at least on some level, forced to recognize our interconnectedness within the human community.
Nisolo, loosely translated, means “not alone” in Spanish—and while many of us are quarantined and feeling isolated, my hope is that we all recognize how together we can be throughout this fight.
Like many industries, fashion is facing unprecedented devastation. I’ve heard directly and indirectly from the CEOs of over 20 brands our size and larger, and the impact is staggering—70-90% declines in sales each day since mid-March. This has meant brands laying off thousands of people in the U.S.. And, this has meant that literally millions of garment workers—some of the world’s most vulnerable people—most of whom are women—have lost their jobs as major retailers cancel purchase orders.
Nisolo is no different. After being ahead of plan all year, on March 11th everything changed. Since then, our sales have dropped as much as 85% per day. We’re not a large company. We’re not venture-capital backed. Our margins are too tight, so we haven’t had the luxury of building up cash reserves. Inevitably, this has meant facing the decisions you never want to face—having to part ways with many of our staff across the U.S., Peru, and throughout our supply chain—recognizing that the only way you ever get to offer those jobs again is by making those gut-wrenching decisions now.
And while we’ve done the best we can—honoring purchase orders that were in progress with our factories, offering the best severance support we can, and even launching a relief fund to help care for some of the most vulnerable people in our supply chain—it’s not enough. It’s heartbreaking, and I can’t help but choke up again even as I write this note.
This is not a fun update, but I don’t think there has ever been a greater need for honest conversation and connection between one another than right now. We’re all struggling in some way. Maybe you’re fearful for your health or economic security. Maybe you just lost your job. There’s no shame in any of this. No one did anything wrong. I truly believe that if we could all start from a place of interconnectedness and empathy for our common (and different) struggles, we can rebuild a much more beautiful society than what was in place before COVID-19.
Many of us recognized that the fashion industry was broken long before this virus arrived. Now that the industry is facing the greatest devastation it has faced in recent history, what if we could get all brands and all consumers to reset and collectively rebuild something so much better?
We created Nisolo to push the industry in a more sustainable direction—one that would care for people and the planet just as much as the end consumer. The next step for us is to press on and continue what we set out to do from the start. So, in the coming weeks, we’ll keep sharing resources and helpful content with you, but we’ll return to talking about our spring product launches that our team and shoemakers have been working hard on for the last year as well.
To be clear though, we don’t want anyone to feel pressure to spend right now and completely respect if you’re not in a place where that feels comfortable. Full transparency, we haven’t bought any new clothes or shoes at my house recently either! If that’s you right now, here’s a helpful post on how you can best care for the products you already own. And, I hope you recognize that you don’t have to buy something to cheer on your favorite brands through this time. From sharing about them with friends to liking their posts to commenting with good vibes—encouragement like this during times like these goes further than ever before.
But, for those of you who are ready to bring something new into your home, here are few options that can make that easier on your wallet:
- We just created the discount code “NOTALONE” for you to use at checkout for a discount on us through these tough times.
- Or, you can get $25 when you refer a friend, co-worker, or someone who compliments your Nisolo’s.
- You can also do some spring cleaning and participate in our Shoe Reclamation Program to receive $30 toward a future purchase. Send us your worn and used shoes here.
- Pay at your own pace. We also partnered with Affirm to help make our products more accessible. Learn more.
- Lastly, our Ethical Marketplace has several lower-priced items that support 21 different small brands going through tough times as well, and our Home collection has some great options to help life feel a little cozier.
Whether you've been a customer since 2011 or this is your first time getting a note from us, we consider you part of the Nisolo community. Remember, you're “not alone” in whatever you might be going through right now. Over the last few weeks, we've been wrapping up our staff meetings with a moment of gratitude, and I can’t think of a better way to end this letter than to follow suit. I’ll close with this: I'm grateful for each and every one of you—now more than ever before.