ONCE UPON a time (a.k.a. 3 years ago), two young twenty-something working girls are going on separate trips abroad. One will travel in Europe for a month, the other will embark on a weeklong backpacking trip around Asia. All is well and good and they were both beginning to get wildly ecstatic about their trips, until they face a similar dilemma: packing. They thought, How am I going to pack everything in a small piece of luggage? How many shoes should I bring?
Does this sound familiar to you girls who love to travel? They thought so too!
The two girls, Kaye Ong and Jackie Tan, both thought,
If only there were easy-to-pack shoes, we could bring more pairs for our travels.
Moved by packing troubles and a desire to chase after something more rewarding and exciting other than their day jobs, they started to sell shoes, shoes that are easy to pack and will take up a small space in their bags. The result: Suelas Shoes—the first-ever fashion-forward foldable shoes in the Philippines. (A little side note: The two budding entrepreneurs back in 2009 initially attempted to put up a shawarma stand near office buildings, but they realize that cooking wasn’t their forte.)
Photo from suelasonline.com | classic Llanura (Suelas’ first design!)
Flatten it, Fold it, Roll it
Suelas Shoes, which started out as a single design of fuss-free, foldable flats, is now offering an extensive, vibrant range of designs, including boat shoes, loafers, and animal–patterned flats, all designed to be kept neatly folded in your bag. Every pair is lightweight and the insoles are made of soft velvety lining. It’s a haven for girls’ feet after walking in heels all day.
The brand also has store collaborations with local brands such as Soak Swimwear, and design collaborations with Filipina fashion bloggers, including Kryz Uy, Rosanna Aranaz, and Laureen Uy. More recently, a new shoe line was launched: thong sandals. Each pair of Suelas also comes with a black shoe bag they designed themselves, which allows you to neatly pack the shoes without touching the soles that would get your hands dirty.
What makes Suelas special is not only their innovative shoe design, but also that it’s proudly Philippine-made, which has been helping different local industries thrive. Suelas partnered with a community sponsored by Gawad Kalinga, Payatas Trese, to manufacture and silkscreen the bags. “Initially they were only doing silkscreening, and with this project, we felt we were also able to help the community with our business opportunities,” Kaye said.
The shoes themselves are all made in Marikina, with a partner that has been in the shoemaking industry for over 30 years.
“Without their expertise and partnership, I don’t think we’d be able to execute the concept that we wanted properly.”
Where you can best wear a pair of Suelas Shoes:
1. After a long day in heels (“It’s no joke to be in heels all day!” – Kaye)
After strutting in 4-inch pumps for hours, pull out a pair of flats neatly stored in your bag and give your feet a break, while staying stylish at the same time.
2. In your travels that require lots of walking
In a span of 3 years, countless pairs of Suelas have travelled in countries in almost every continent. Customers have been happily taking pictures of themselves traveling around the world in style wearing their favorite pair of Suelas, and sharing them online.
“It’s super overwhelming for us. It’s not something that we ask for from our customers. We’re very happy that they are very interactive with us, with the brand, and the lifestyle we’re trying to communicate.”
Kaye Ong, 1/2 of Suelas Shoes, presents a few of her products at the second day of the Blogworthy Workshop by Wanderrgirl. Suelas Shoes are sold online and in different areas in Metro Manila and several provinces, and has recently opened a branch in Alabang Town Center.
The responses of customers have been greatly overwhelming and favorable, making this a Philippine-made socially-oriented brand that has so much potential and promise, and may one day become a classic social enterprise success story.
And it all started from two girls who wanted to pack more shoes in their bags.
Order your pair of Suelas now! –> suelasonline.com