Born in the Valley of Mexico, Ozapato has grown into a company that values honest trade, product durability, and awesome shoes. Founded by Nancy Ramirez and Fabien Georjon in 2013, Ozapato is making major moves in 2016. We, at Colabination, talked with Jennifer Fry, a PR rep for the brand, about what’s in store for Ozapato in the year to come.
Emily O’Rourke (EO): How did Ozapato get its unique name?
Jennifer Fry (JF): Our name is derived from the Spanish word for ‘shoe’: ‘zapato’. Since our focus is on simplicity, removing complication and middle-men, we wanted our name to reflect that and our brand.
EO: Tell us a little more of how the brand got started? How did Nancy Ramirez and Fabien Georjon meet?
JF: Our founders, Nancy and Fabien met in 2008 while working/studying in China. Soon after, Fabien traveled to Mexico and became acquainted with Nancy’s family and their business, manufacturing steel-toed and construction shoes. Everyone in the shop and family adopted Fabien and he fell in love with the process of making shoes and the social impact that this business has for these families. After a few years living in Mexico City, Fabien and Nancy moved to Panama City. While working there, they began to identify a gap in the market and ventured to bring in their family’s industrial shoe business. With many years of traveling and learning the outsourced supply chain models used by larger shoe companies, Nancy and Fabien realized they could make a social impact to create jobs locally, by producing high quality boots with the help of local employees in Mexico and Panama. Thus, OZAPATO was born virtually, to cut out the middlemen and ensure cost savings is passed on to the customer, while supporting local producers.
EO: Are shoes the focus of Ozapato's future? Or do you think you'll expand to other goods as well?
JF: Our core business is footwear and will continue to be in the future. Nevertheless, since we have access to great quality leather and talented artisans, we are currently branching out into lifestyle leather goods to possibly include belts, wallets, journals, housewares, small leather goods, and leather care products.
EO: Your shoes aren't only well made but are also apart of an honest trade process. Why is this important to Ozapato? How do you think this makes your shoes different from others?
JF: We know personally everyone that works in our production process. Everyone makes above average salaries for their local market and has access to medical care for them and their families. We make timeless products to outlast trends. Our products can be repaired and recycled, and we encourage our customers to partake in this, as opposed to purchasing new. Since we do not believe in working with intermediaries, we focus our time on creating long-lasting relationships with staff and suppliers, who we ensure take care of their own people and share in our value system.
EO: What can we expect in this new year? New collaborations? New collections? Expansion?
JF: We are currently testing and developing some additional products at the moment and by this summer, we plan to launch 4 new styles of boots and 2 new styles of street shoes, including leather sneakers. In addition, we will soon launch our first line of lifestyle leather goods, as described before. As we are global travelers ourselves, we have partnered with a few close friends who are also adventurers, and who will be testing our boots in remote areas of Africa and Panama. Be sure to check our blog for updates on their adventures! Since we are a company steeped in global awareness and adventure, we always keep our eyes and ears open for opportunities to collaborate with like-minded individuals and socially- and environmentally-conscious brands.
As harsh winter weather starts to settle in on the majority of the United States, make sure to grab a pair of Ozapato boots to keep you snow ready and stylish! No snow? No worries. Ozapato’s boots are all-terrain ready for your next adventure.
Want to keep up with Ozapato? Make sure to check out their showroom for undated on their latest products.
Check out interviews with more Colabination brands I Get Down Co and Arm The Animals.
Article by Emily O'Rourke