High quality shoes are hard to find, let alone ones that are domestically sourced, environmentally friendly, and are made by California-based artisans who thrive for shoemaking. Third-generation shoemaker, Stephanie Nicora embraced her passion and created NICORA to provide remarkable high-quality shoes for men and women made of leather substitutes. Read on to learn how her new company is currently thriving and continues to grow exponentially.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at NICORA.
At NICORA, we’re combining traditional shoemaking techniques with the latest advanced textiles to bring the world classically designed and sustainable footwear. Each pair of our shoes is handcrafted in Los Angeles, California by a team of multi-generational shoe artisans. We use only high-quality, sustainable materials – including fabrics made from recycled textiles and eco-engineered leather substitutes – to ensure a lighter environmental footprint without sacrificing quality or beauty.
When did you get started selling online? Why?
NICORA as a company was born online and continued to remain focused on our digital channel for two reasons. First, we want to interact with our customers directly without any type of intermediary. Customer relationships and feedback are incredibly important to us so we want to create the shortest path possible between us and them. Secondly, it allows us to offer our customers high-quality American made goods at an affordable price. By selling directly to our consumer, we avoid the multiple layers of markup that come with traditional distribution channels. Sourcing and making everything in the United States is core to who we are and being an online shop is a big part of what makes all of that possible.By selling directly to consumers, we avoid the layers of markup that come with traditional distribution. Click To Tweet
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running NICORA?
We are still a young and growing company, so we are learning everyday how we can make the digital experience better. Sometimes that means making small functional or cosmetic changes to the website. At other times that means finding and bring together the best apps and third-party service providers to create a seamless digital shop. We are constantly talking to other online brands and shops to find out what is working for them, and we have also found our existing app and service providers to be a tremendous resource.
How do you attract new customers?
We focus a lot on brand partnerships to grow the awareness of our brand in these early days. We have found tremendous success in attracting new customers through this avenue, and quite frankly our existing customers love it as well. Our customers look for very specific characteristics in the brands they shop, so by helping them discover new brands we strengthen our relationship with them. We also are very active in the communities and cities our primary customer base is in. Stephanie, our founder and head designer, is a third-generation shoemaker and has dedicated her life to creating smarter fashion and reviving American shoemaking. She is often asked to speak on the work she is doing and regularly attends or hosts events that align closely with our brand values.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running NICORA?
Going back to having direct relationships with our customers, we view every contact point with them – whether that is an email inquiry, phone call, shipping status request, sizing question, etc. – as an opportunity to show them how much they mean to us. We also use that as an opportunity to learn – always asking questions about how they found us or how we can improve. Those regular interactions have been immensely helpful in learning what we can do to get better every day.Regular customer interactions are immensely helpful in learning what we can do better every day. Click To Tweet
If you’re in search leather substitute, yet high-quality shoes made by California-local artisans, check out NICORA.