TALES OF RETAIL: The Solestruck Edition

In our newest addition to the blog we will be digging into the history, future plans and current obsessions of our beloved Miista retailers! And can we just tell you, NO ONE gives an interview like the creative team at Solestruck. Solestruck is one of those rare stores where everything in it makes sense. They buy for a girl who knows what she wants and then dutifully answer each of her desires. Exclusive sky high architectural heel-less wedges? CHECK. 5.5 inch ballet flat platforms? CHECK. Safari worthy multi-animal print lace up stiletto ankle boots? ANNND CHECK. Solestruck defines shoe porn. When you aren't busy buying, you can browse the pages for literally hours getting inspiration from their global collection of extreme looks. And now, even more frequently, you'll find that the most major showstoppers are available only at Solestruck. The strong relationships they forge with brands are allowing them to set up exclusive shoe deals more and more often -- something that their customer lives and dies for. You know how it is. Exclusivity is sexy. Solestruck is not for the faint of heart. Or shoe. It's unapologetically in your face as it dares you to laugh at the status quo while you drop hundreds on all over bejeweled ankle boots or a pair of men's wedges. Buyer's remorse and Solestruck shoppers have never been formally introduced. It's always totally worth it. The store has shown time and time again that it is the place to go for those certain styles you can't find anywhere. Whether you're out for the perfect Spring oxford or the most out of this world New Years Eve shoe, Solestruck is the first place to look. Dying to get the inside scoop on how they made themselves into the image of every girl's dream shoe store we hit up Brand Manager and Head of the Creative Team//HBIC Ty McBride. Ty has a preternatural talent for branding. He houses so much creativity and instinctual knowledge of trends that if you cut him he'd bleed Pantone's official color of next season. Miista: Tell me some backstory. I know the shop launched in 2004 -- has the mission stayed the same? Have you been ridding the world of ugly shoes since the very beginning? Where does the very essence of Solestruck lie Mr McBride? Ty McBride: We are, have been, and remain a small and fiercely indie-owned shoe only retailer. We are a one trick pony---shoes all day y'all! We have had our brick and mortar store for over 2 years now, however, in October of 2011, we opened our new location.The interiors were built to our designs and made specifically to showcase the shoes. We rotate the store's inventory every 30-45 days...completely flipping the store so it is NEW NEW NEW for Portland's babes. Visually the store looks like an alien ship landed in the VIP section of the most secret Hong Kong night club----deal with that realness. The store is amazing---and serves as a visual snapshot to what we have offered online for the last seven years. We continue to work towards the same goals...finding the newest, most interesting, and fun brands---then offering them all under one roof. We top all this off with a giant dose of insane customer service and an award winning TUMBLR and that my friends, is SOLESTRUCK.com. [caption id="attachment_7905" align="aligncenter" width="960" caption="creative genius TY MCBRIDE"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7906" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="New Solestruck PDX store"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7907" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Solestruck brick&mortar take 2"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7908" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="On display"][/caption] M: What's the Solestruck team like? With the amount of amazingly perfect content you guys pump out daily I wouldn't be surprised if you had a fleet of 50 fashion kids scouring social media all day long -- am I close? We're also convinced that you must have the most fun work environment ever. TM: [The team is tiny.] When you work for someone small, and a company who is growing, you get to do a lot. You get to wear a lot of hats. Our team is growing, but we are really small still---we all do a lot and work as a team still, while we figure out the next moves for our plan of world domination. We are currently hiring a men's buyer--and added two new faces this month to our CS team [the Solestruck Customer Service team is notorious for the relationships they manage to build with initially pissed off customers. Anyone who can make a furious shoe freak into a newfound friend has some special talent.] I can tell you that the office involves a dog named gunny, and special things like baked cinnamon rolls, a space aged espresso machine, a basketball court, power jams from both Neil Diamond and Rhianna, and a sea of inside jokes. In short, it's like the best reality show--that has not seen any air time----YET. M: So let's chat a bit about this plan for world domination -- what kind of exciting new projects do you have in the works? We all know Solestruck girls love a good collab or exclusive shoe, so you must have some amazing stuff lined up. TM: For 2012 we have a lot of fun things on the books. We are working on MORE free shoes. Our clients are basically all regulars, so we like to reward them! We do what we do for our fans---so we are increasing our amount of contests and fan gifts this year! We are also working hard on continued collabos and limited edition capsule collections. We have found our girl likes it real exclusive---does that make her a bitch? Or just insanely genius---we like to think a little of both! We are relaunching the site in April---this will unveil a project that has been in the works for sometime---a new face....ahhhh. The shoes will be displayed even more beautifully, and will be easier to shop. Our retail store is continually hosting a slew of pop-up shops and insane shop-in-shop collaborations. We are currently working on events with Black Milk, Jeffrey Campbell Bags, UNIF and Dolce Vita Apparel. For Spring '12 we are launching some insane new brands and projects. A few of those are.....Wildfox X Jeffrey Campbell, MIROIKE from Berlin, ELLY CLAY, Buffalo Originals, as well as Mandy Koon X LD TUTTLE, ACNE, Belle of the Brawl, a new insane brand called Gold Dot, Jil Sander Navy, this fun brand VELLETO from Spain, and we will also be one of the very select global retailers for a collabo that is coming from the genius minds behind Doc Marten. Stay tuned for more....... [caption id="attachment_7909" align="aligncenter" width="680" caption="Holiday collab with Matiko"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7910" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Bridge & Burn pop up shop inside Solestruck PDX"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7911" align="aligncenter" width="750" caption="Jeffrey Campbell X Solestruck shoe boxes"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7923" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="LOOK OF THE NIGHT Contest with Black Milk Clothing"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7922" align="aligncenter" width="642" caption="WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS A MIISTA: collage contest"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7924" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="SPILL IT: JC Bag Giveaway"][/caption] M: How do you define the Solestruck girl? How does she direct your buying? When you walk through a tradeshow how do you spot the must-have, will-sell-out-in-2.5-days styles? TM: The Solestruck girl is always changing and evolving. What we do know is she likes it FIRST, FAST, FORWARD and FRESH. We rely on our clients for continued feedback and inspiration---we find much of our motivation from the men and women who shop on our site. We offer a wide range of prices---as well as looks. We really strive to keep the site unlike any other venue on the internet. We do not buy for stories, concept, or hyper-trends---but rather we seek out items that seem current and fresh. Updated takes on trends, interpretations of classics---we are literally always on the hunt. It never ends. M: Now, we can't not mention the parties -- you guys have been hosting killer shindigs pretty regularly out in Portland in the new flagship store (the pictures from them almost make me want to leave NYC and go West! That's saying a lot. They look like so much fun!) What were your most recent bashes and what's it like when the SS girl and the rest of the team gets down and dirty? TM: I am not sure if you know about PORTLAND, but she is real cute! The Solestruck team recently hosted our first annual Karaoke Holiday Bash. Due to the insane amount business we had in December we had to host it in February---and it was just what we needed to get us through the grey month. Select members of our staff have secret powers---when it comes to dance moves, karaoke, taking shots or really giving it to the people! Portland is insanely fun--and we are lucky---our instore events or hosted parties always have a good turn out. The free booze probably helps. Gulp. [caption id="attachment_7912" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Grand opening party for Solestruck flagship"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7913" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Ty & Director of Vintage & In-House Stylist Anna"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7914" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="A few of the SS team...Lindsay, Ty, Tina, Bryce and Anna"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7915" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="And a few more! Erin, Alex, Ty, Lindsay, Isabel, Julie, Melissa, Bryce and Anna partying up in Portland"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7927" align="aligncenter" width="984" caption="Ty & Aly -- a member of the SS super-human Customer Service team"][/caption] M: We basically know you as the lookbook//visual project gurus of the indie shoe scene -- where do you draw your inspiration and how important do you think this creative element is? TB: Our creative team is growing, and we are working together to push more content as a whole. Video and lookbook editorials are all super important to our client. We work in a market that is pushed and thrives on social media--so developing our own content has become important to us and our followers. I wouldn't be lying to you if I told you that the WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE video not only changed my life---the over 1K screenshots I took from the video are blowing up my inspiration boards! YEP! M: Your latest project -- ON THE ROAD -- involved an RV jam packed with models, bodysuits, and shoes, shoes, shoes -- how did this go? TB: ON THE ROAD was insane---and we are about to go live with it on our site. It was a huge undertaking---five cities, 60 looks, 14 models etc etc etc. CRAZY. We had a great time---it was for sure an adventure, I mean have you slept in an RV before? I was kind of feeling it. Teaser video 1 (can you spot the Miistas??) Teaser video 2 M: Where is your absolute dream come true lookbook shoot location and who, of all the models//beautiful people of the world, would star in it? TB: We have a lot of editorials coming soon. We usually work with bloggers, real girls, aspiring models and young talent as far as models go. We love that by working on real girls, fans and clients we can kind of take the look straight to the street, direct to the source. It keeps our approach very attainable and real---we love that. Our dream model??? On a personal note I can tell you I am obsessed with FEI FEI SUN. I LOVE HER! [caption id="attachment_7925" align="aligncenter" width="785" caption="Fei Fei"][/caption] I want to shoot a lookbook at Enchanted Forrest, this strange theme part outside Portland! I also have always wanted to shoot a small piece in my favorite tiny town in WA state: BOW EDISON. I have a strange fascination with small town heroes---I cannot explain it. [about a year ago Ty and the Jeffrey Campbell team traveled to his hometown of Ontario, OR to shoot a lookbook called...Small Town Heros! Accidental project name drop #intoit] [caption id="attachment_7917" align="aligncenter" width="961" caption="TBA: The Ones That Got Away SS12"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7918" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="IN THE SPIRIT Holiday 2011"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7919" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="JEFFREY CAMPBELL: La Isle Bonita Resort 2011"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7920" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="THE WEEKENDER SS11"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7921" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="THE WEEKENDER SS11"][/caption] M: And finally, If SS the store were a shoe, which shoe would it be? TM: Anything from Anastasia Radevich. She is my current obsession. Like, actually cannot breathe. [caption id="attachment_7916" align="aligncenter" width="680" caption="Anastasia Radevich"][/caption] We actually have an interview set up for this weekend with Anastasia Radevich -- she and Laura have been friends since working together at Aldo in the mid 2000s and her work is NOT something to be missed! As for Solestruck -- how much do you love them? From their Tumblr to their blog, their lookbooks to their selection -- Solestruck always goes all out with uncompromising energy and endless excitement. You can tell when someone really loves what they do. For Miista and much, much more visit Solestruck.com. Currently you can pick up our styles: ALKA in turquoise, black and tan, ANTI in black and tan, DOLORES in red//tan and yellow, and ADELINA in red and tan//yellow. We are entirely sold out of ADELINA tan//yellow and ANTI black in our store, so if you've been searching for those styles now you know where to find them!