The perfect pair of shoes is one you can wear for the long haul and does not sacrifice comfort for the sake of aesthetic. This is what Strut stands for. The online store is best known for women’s shoes that are “transitional, versatile, and refined with a constant focus on comfort.” True enough, its footwear does match any outfit, highlighting its value for practical simplicity.
Now with eight collections live, Strut continues to leave customers in awe for their beautiful, high-quality footwear, ranging from flats to mules and heels. We talked to the online store’s founder and owner Marla Ongtao to better get to know the brand.
1. What’s the story behind Strut? Who were the founders and how did you come up with such an inspired idea?
"I have always wanted to start an online business after graduating college, but I had no idea what to sell nor how to start one. A few months later, I had an idea of starting a footwear brand and because of my love for shoes, Strut was born!"
2. Your brand values versatility and comfort on top of everything else. How do you ensure those while still making sure your products remain fashionable?
"Strut is all about creating beautifully designed, quality products that last. I try to stay true to its vision by providing shoes that are transitional, versatile, and refined. I seek to give my customers the best shoe experience possible and to accommodate the chic in every woman."
3. Walk us through the process. Who designs your clothing and accessories? Who produces?
"I design the shoes that I want to sell. I get inspiration from my personal style. I make sure that the pieces I sell are something that I would wear and perennial. Of course I also think about my target market and how my products can fit their lifestyle. Besides that, I also draw inspiration from people who believe in Strut. Our shoes are all locally made."
4. Your shoes are locally made in Marikina. What sets you apart from other stores that also sell Marikina-made footwear?
"The fact that it is made there is something the people know and trust because lots of shoes made in Marikina are known to be of high quality and has a steady stream of customer loyalty. What makes Strut different are the designs I put out that set my brand apart from all the other brands out there."
5. What kind of materials do you use in your products?
"We normally use synthetic leathers for our shoes because it’s environmentally safer and affordable than actual leather."
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?
"With an online store, customers can just buy without visiting a brick and mortar location. It makes our products reachable and it’s easier to market through social media. In the Philippines, e-commerce is booming, that’s why competition is very tough. It’s also very fast paced, which makes it more challenging for online stores like mine. One of the struggles was looking for the perfect supplier that can produce the quality and style that I wanted."
7. What do you think are your brand’s strengths?
"My product designs, the quality of my products, and the affordable pricing."
8. What are some aspects that you think you need to improve on and how do you plan to implement these improvements?
"I want to improve my logistics so I can ship abroad. I plan to hire a marketing coordinator to improve Strut’s Marketing activities so I can have a wider reach of customers."
9. Do you plan to further extend your reach worldwide?
"Yes, hopefully soon."
10. Where do you see your brand in the coming years? What should we expect from Strut?
"I want to expand into more categories while having the same objective of creating transitional, versatile and refined products. I also plan for Strut to be more accessible by having physical stores and to be able to ship worldwide."