Marikina has long been famously dubbed as the shoe capital of the country, bringing fashion aficionados nothing but high-quality, elegantly-crafted footwear for reasonable prices. Somewhere in the heart of the busy city lies the source of the digital community better known as Stride Collective.
Founded as an online store cum cooperative enterprise of Marikina-based shoe brands, Stride Collective showcases some of the best homegrown staples from the city with over 15 brands.
Later this month, it will be joining other notable up-and-coming fashion enterprises for the biggest design and lifestyle event in the metro, Department of Trade and Industry Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM)’s Manila FAME.
If you’re in search of local brands to support, look no further; Stride Collective is a one-stop shop with a wide array of items worth purchasing. We interviewed co-founder Judith Basco to learn more about this community, why she choose to highlight Marikina craftsmanship, and everything else you’d want to know.
1. What’s the story behind Stride Collective? Who were the founders and how did you come up with such an inspired idea?
“Stride Collective is a community of shoe brands that are manufactured by Risque Designs Manufacturing. We want to come together to represent the new breed of Marikina shoe brands and to showcase the talent of our very own shoemakers.”
2. Walk us through the process. Who designs your shoes? Who produces?
“We are made of 17 plus brands, whose shoes are styled and branded by the shoe entrepreneurs themselves. All shoes are handcrafted by our Marikina shoe artisans in Risque Designs Manufacturing.”
3. How do you select the designers, artisans, and suppliers you partner with? Who are some of your most notable partners?
“We have come together as one community because we share the same values and practices. We all support slow fashion and fair trade, all reflected in the shoes we make as materials are responsibly sourced in our partner communities in CamSur, Negros, Mt. Province, and we make sure that we provide the best working conditions for our artisans.”
4. Are all your featured brands made in Marikina? If so, why focus on this demographic?
“Yes, all are made in Marikina. We want to support the artisanal way of shoemaking as well as improve the lives of our sapateros.”
5. What kind of materials do you use in your products?
“As we are composed of various brands, our products have various materials as well. We have shoes made of handwoven fabrics, genuine leather, and natural fibers such as abaca and solihiya. Others have special constructions as well such as hand-painted on leather, hand-carved heels, etc.”
6. Why decide to focus on establishing your brand online? What are the challenges you’ve encountered when you first started and how did you overcome them?
“When we first gathered around the idea of Stride Collective, we discussed how best we can come together to represent more of the Marikina-made shoes. We thought of registering as one in events as well as building a consolidated website to make it easier for our market to find Marikina-made shoes in one place. We are gearing towards the digital age and we believe that the future of business is online.”
7. What do you think is your brand’s edge? What sets you apart from other online stores?
“We are passionate in offering beautiful, comfortable, and handcrafted shoes that are designed to last, aside from the fact that we have a variety of designs to choose from for him and for her. We are currently the only online store that exclusively offers a wide selection of Marikina-made shoes.”
8. What are some aspects that you think you need to improve on and how do you plan to implement these improvements?
“We are only three months in and we want to explore how we can improve our services especially being in the e-commerce space.”
9. Do you plan to further extend your reach through worldwide shipping?
“We would love to distribute worldwide when good opportunities come.”
10. Where do you see your brand in the coming years? What should we expect from Stride Collective?
“We are looking to feature more brands in the site, distribute to other countries, and open a store (very) soon to encourage more people to go to Marikina.”
Shop Stride Collective’s huge selection of elegantly designed, neatly constructed footwear by visiting it at stridecollectiveph.com.