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Meet the Team: Nisolo

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Photos by Mikaela Hamilton and Karen Hernandez for The Style Line

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Nisolo – Photos by Mikaela Hamilton and Karen Hernandez for The Style Line

“In my experience, the best way to give fully to the

world is through something that you feel passionate about,” Nisolo co-founder and designer Zoe Cleary stately expressed in our interview below. “When people are creating based on their passions and strengths, this is when we see the real beauty and when we are living to the fullest and subsequently having the most profound impact on the world.” We’re not alone in sharing these sentiments – especially when it comes to using creativity as a vehicle to leave an imprint in the world. Case in point, today’s story with the dynamic, talented, and wonderfully passionate team behind Nisolo.

Nisolo, which translates to “not alone” prides itself on providing quality products through artisan practice with a nod to modern style. You may already be familiar with Nisolo’s rich product assortment which includes the brand’s staple shoes for both men and women, along with small leather goods and jewelry. While we’re all for celebrating the process behind these ethically crafted gems, we’re going to shift focus and let this remarkable team take the reins in telling the story of Nisolo through their lens. This exclusive interview features thoughts from ALL of the members of the Nisolo team who are based in the United States. From Los Angeles to Nashville, we are incredibly honored to have the chance to share insight from those who are truly the heartbeat of this global brand, and perhaps more appropriately said this global community. Read on to discover the full conversations below and enjoy exclusive snapshots of our visit to both offices captured by Mikaela Hamilton and Karen Hernandez for The Style Line.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN JUNE 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT

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Zoe Cleary, Co-founder and Designer

Please introduce yourself!

Outside of Nisolo, you’ll find me spending time outdoors, in the yoga room or traveling. I’ve lived in a lot of places all over the world, but I’m definitely a California girl at heart. I value healthy, fresh food from my garden and spending time with family and friends (and animals!), eating a home cooked meal or at the beach. 

Walk us through the inception of Nisolo – how has cultivating a global brand influenced your approach to personal style?

After spending a few years working in the corporate fashion industry in NYC, I knew that I needed to be a part of something that I felt more passionate about and that encouraged awareness in regards to consumption. Starting Nisolo has provided this for me in my professional life and it has also helped me to incorporate more awareness into my daily life. We consume so much as human beings, so being aware of that and trying to lead a more simplified and focused life is something I’ve been working on. 

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How would you advise the next generation of makers, creative/fashion professionals or people in general to leave in a imprint in the world just by doing what they love? 

In my experience, the best way to give fully to the world is through something that you feel passionate about. When people are creating based on their passions and strengths, this is when we see the real beauty and when we are living to the fullest and subsequently having the most profound impact on the world.

Taylor Perkins, Product Design

Please introduce yourself!

I’m a recent California transplant, originally from the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, and I’m lucky to be surrounded (near and far) by the best family and friends a girl could ask for.

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I love all things visual – from fashion and textiles to interior decorating and furniture. I’m constantly inspired by the colors and textures of new cities and landscapes, and the desire to understand new people and cultures. I truly value time to reset and take care of myself in order to cultivate creativity and bring the best version of myself to all of my relationships. 

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

I’d always love the opportunity to share more of the behind-the-scenes process that goes into each design. Designs that appear quite simple often have a lengthy and thoughtful process behind them, and I’m so proud to be part of a team that values the process and the people involved as much as we value the final product. 

We love Nisolo’s meaning, and with this in mind, how has working in social good/fashion helped you to not feel alone/find your sense of community?

Because everyone at Nisolo feels so passionately about the brand’s mission and values, I’ve quickly felt a strong sense of community that’s built around doing what we believe in. 

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Patrick Woodyard, Co-founder and CEO 

Please introduce yourself! 

An article came out about Nisolo not too long ago that characterized me as an unassuming, “totally normal” person that you might bump shoulders with in a coffee shop and not look twice. I thought this was hilarious and also pretty accurate. I’m not overly eccentric or a serial entrepreneur with a long track record of flipping businesses or anything of the sort. I’m a guy who had a dream about what could be and decided to do something about it. Like plenty of people, I value faith, community, and hard work rooted in purpose outside of one’s own self interest. I’m intensely passionate about bettering the fashion industry, the lives of our team  members domestically and abroad, and the lives of our customers through versatile, quality products and the convenience of effortless style. I spend a lot of my time fighting for Nisolo’s work in those areas, and the rest of my time is generally spent pursuing my beautiful wife, family, friends, and a soccer ball every chance I can get. 

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How would you characterize your day to day at Nisolo and what do you wish more people asked you about your role as a founder?

For the first time in Nisolo’s history, the opportunity for me to play a traditional CEO role is finally approaching. Over the past few years, a fair amount of my time has been spent focusing on strategy and longer term vision, but leading a young company through exponential growth without extensive resources has meant that I’ve spent a bit more time in the weeds than I would prefer. The day to day “weeds” of the business for me have looked like enhancing our brand and marketing strategies, designing our men’s product line, helping solve operational challenges, recruiting a killer team, keeping the right people in the right seats on the bus, and ensuring that the bus is heading in the right direction. In the near future, a lot more of my time will focus on steering the bus in a “strategic” manner rather than “reactionary” or the quintessential “experimental” manner that is regrettably common among young start ups. 

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Per the response I just gave about what my day to day looks like, I guess I wish more people would ask about what it’s like for a founder’s role to evolve through all of the extremely different growth stages of a scaling start up. And maybe also what kind of attitude you have to maintain in order to allow your role to evolve in a way that is most beneficial to the company. The evolving characteristics of a founder’s role through tumultuous growth periods are moving targets. Sometimes you’ve realized too late what the business needs most of you at a given time. So, the more you can get out of the weeds and listen to the pulse of your company, the better off you’ll be in setting yourself and the business up for success. 

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Nisolo playing in this shift in thinking?

Our world is changing faster than ever, and creativity is playing such a huge role in that change. Driven by creative innovators, despite all the chaos and tragedy around the world, I firmly believe that the world is becoming a better place each day. Sure, media will mainly cover the drama that sells, but the reality is that we are living in an age of technological and creative innovation that is furthering society at a pace that has not been witnessed since the Renaissance. This is also true for the fashion industry. The subtle noise beginning to stir in the fashion industry is the initial ripple of a tsunami of progress that I believe we’ll see in our lifetime. In part, the ripple is the effect of the intense work that the people behind new brands like Nisolo put in each and every day. It’s only the beginning, but through our passion and creativity, coupled with innovation on the global policy front, we can slowly but surely push the fashion industry away from earth-destroying, modern day slavery  toward a massive vehicle for economic progress and sustainability that serves not only those on main street but also those in the poorest corners of the world. 

Becky Bailey, VP US Operations and Finance

Please introduce yourself! 

Hola! I’m Becky. Our #1 core value at Nisolo is to know and care for yourself personally and professionally, so I bring 100% of myself to work and play, and I cherish that immensely. In addition to being a “certified, nerd-baller, ninja legend,” as one former advisor so sweetly named me, I love to live healthy, play outdoors, craft adventures, and explore new places and cultures. I have an amazing fiance who chills me out, a hilarious and sweet 3 year old stepdaughter, and a Nicaraguan rescue husky/german shepherd with a ton of personality. I practice power yoga and attempt to cook “fun” Paleo meals, and as a family we camp, kayak, hike, build forts, play pretend and travel as much as our schedule allows. I value deep relationships, and I love that Nisolo is a place where we not only create and foster those relationships as a team, but where all of our work is ultimately an effort to create that same opportunity across the developing world, by taking the concern for access to basic needs off the table.

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What is the most unexpected thing you’ve discovered about your style and yourself as a result of being in this position at Nisolo?

The most unexpected thing I’ve discovered about my style and myself as a result of this position at Nisolo is the extent of my desire to be minimal and subtle, yet classy and sophisticated. Before joining Nisolo I primarily worked in aggressive, intimidating, male-dominated environments, and I never wanted my style to influence a person’s perception of my intelligence or status when entering the room. As a result, I prefer sophisticated staples that allow my voice to be heard above all else. This works really nicely with Nisolo’s style and ethos, allowing me to maintain an effortlessly elegant sense of self and instead pour the majority of my time and energy into helping scale our business and improving our operations.    

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

The one question I wish people asked more often is what we have to say no to, and how we stay focused, in order to drive killer business results. A lot of the mantras around entrepreneurship and fast-growing businesses focus on new ideas, creating opportunities, and driving innovation. Our business is succeeding as a result of all of those concepts and, just as importantly, as a result of a laser focus on key priorities. Sometimes the right priority to create a strong business is the less glamorous one, and requires saying “not now” to a really exciting opportunity. People don’t often ask or speak about that because it’s less exciting, but in my opinion it’s just as critical to success in the long run. I have to constantly remind myself that saying “not now” to a really exciting opportunity allows me to say “heck yes” to something I’m already working on, which ultimately creates even more opportunities for us down the road. 

Travis Gravette, VP Business Development

Please introduce yourself! 

Outside of Nisolo, I’m a husband and father to two amazing little humans. I like to keep my mind and body active, so I tend to have multiple side projects, but my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family.

We love Nisolo’s meaning, and with this in mind, how has working in social impact/fashion helped you to not feel alone/find your sense of community?

I’ve spent a lot of time outside the U.S. working with various artisans and it’s that connection to the people and communities who make our products that really adds meaning to what we do. I love the strategy and challenge of building a business, but people are my why.

Why do you think Nashville is the best place for a brand like Nisolo to creatively develop?

One word, people. The community we have here is amazing and no matter where I travel I’m always happy to come back home to Nashville.

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Meg Towle- Graphic Design

Please introduce yourself! 

I truly cherish my time outside of work. It allows me to bring my best self to Nisolo. I spend a lot of my time with those closest to me, taking adventures with my sweet pup, working on projects with my hands and stepping out of my comfort zone. I always try to dive into experiences outside of work that bring me back refueled and more inspired. I have a burning desire to travel more so I’ve been planning several trips to see more of this crazy beautiful world we live in.

From LA to Nashville, talk to us about what role these cities have played in the development of Nisolo’s brand?


Both cities have fostered such great communities for Nisolo. It is inevitable that strong communities, filled with such inspiring and creative minds, only elevate Nisolo as a brand. Being in Nashville makes it easy to build relationships, and grow as a company. 

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

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I love this question! Growing up, I’d walk into my mother’s closet and joke with her about how her entire closet consisted of all the same muted colors; black, grey, beige and white. I called her recently, bursting into laughter because subconsciously, I have built the same wardrobe. Thank you, mom for inspiring my easily versatile closet!

Lee Smith-Bryan –  Director of Data & Analytics

Please introduce yourself! 

I choose to embrace life. I surround myself with people who challenge me to better myself, who bring out the best in me, and want the best for me. I enjoy those quiet moments spent alone, but cherish the time spent with friends and family.

We love Nisolo’s meaning, and with this in mind, how has working in social good/fashion helped you to not feel alone/find your sense of community?

Not alone can be approached from both a micro and macro level. On the micro level each Nisolo team member, regardless of which continent they’re on are part of changing lives, whether it be their own through their daily actions, or our customers through our products.

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On the macro level Nisolo has a huge opportunity to influence the fashion space through our passion for fair trade. 

How would you characterize your day to day at Nisolo and what do you wish more people asked you about your role at a brand like Nisolo?

I would characterize my day-to-day at Nisolo as getting to do something I love doing and having an impact on something much bigger than myself, every single day. Without our artisans in Peru and Kenya, those of us in the U.S. wouldn’t be able to fulfil our roles, so ask me about those amazingly talented people!

Josh Blatchford- UX/UI Designer

Please introduce yourself! 

I am a UX/UI designer and entrepreneur who loves all things  branding, good coffee, and Jeep Wrangler adventures with my wife and dog. I’m an adrenaline junky, fitness fanatic, and I love being outdoors. My wife calls me a man puppy because I’m bursting at the seams with energy. I am passionate about creativity, community, and conquering new things.

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How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Nisolo playing in this shift in thinking?

Creativity requires uncomfortably big dreams, which is something Nisolo thrives on. I believe innovative thinking combined with a healthy appreciation for the basics is how real progress is made. Think of 3D printing, for example. They are creating 3D “crawlers” that will be able to navigate through a body to treat specific locations of cancer. In order to achieve such a dream, they went back to the basics and developed the device based on how a spider maneuvers through its web. On a different level, this is how Nisolo is approaching our passion for fair trade. We have huge hopes and uncomfortably big dreams, but we also understand it’s not necessary to completely reinvent the wheel.

How would you advise the next generation of makers, creative/fashion professionals or people in general to leave in a imprint in the world just by doing what they love? 

Be a dreamer, but face reality. Stick up for what you believe in, but seek advice from the generations above you. Don’t fear failure, but embrace it and learn from it. 

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Don’t follow the norm and strive to be the hardest worker on your team. Always remember hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Imagine how influential you can be if you’re a talented, hard worker who truly believes in what you’re doing!

Katy McDonald- Creative Liaison

Please introduce yourself! 

Outside of Nisolo I’m a free bird personality who enjoys change, laughing, and keeping things simple. I enjoy a good naturally lit room, wide open spaces, and all things nature. Traveling is my favorite, but let’s not forget long evening naps at home in my bed. I value my family, friends, and faith more than anything else that could come my way. I also appreciate art that moves me, in whatever form it may be.

Studio visits are pretty common when it comes to learning more about designers. Aside from the process, what other elements of a studio visit do you think are worth talking more about?

I think there is so much richness in the history of things, whether it be a place, a brand, or a person. I love hearing the “how we got here” stories. We all know that Apple has an awesome office, but for some reason it’s more interesting that it all began in a garage.

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How would you characterize your day to day at Nisolo and what do you wish more people asked you about your role at a brand like Nisolo?

My day to day is very different every day, and that is just the way I like it! I wish more people would ask about our Artisans and Makers abroad. Their talent and art is what directly inspires my role with Nisolo. They are the ones that have given me this amazing opportunity to work as a creative in the ethical fashion world.

Devon Murrie, Brand Partnerships

Please introduce yourself! 

As a military brat, I grew up with a love of travel, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures.  I’m now a Nashville transplant who originally moved south to fulfill my commitment with Teach For America, a role that solidified my passion in helping to provide opportunity for others. Leading Brand Partnerships at Nisolo now, I’m still able to combine my interests in culture and engaging with new people with that passion.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

A simple ‘How are you?’ or ‘What’s your name?’ never goes out of style. I’m often guilty of being the first person to put headphones on in the airport or begin texting in the grocery line, but I’d love to strike up more conversations with my neighbors. I’ve recently had some amazing conversations with a few unlikely people who were brave enough to initiate a ‘hello’.

We use personal style as a lens to tell our stories. With that in mind, can you share any memories or anecdotes in which personal style played a pivotal role in your life? How has Nisolo become a part of that?

I would categorize my style as “play-it-safe-chic”. I rarely wear patterns or overly-trendy silhouettes. That’s part of why I’m so drawn to Nisolo’s designs naturally. I think Zoe and Patrick have done a great job of maintaining an effortlessly cool, elevated casual look. The styles are truly timeless which, for a simple dresser like myself, means they are the perfect investment. Since working at Nisolo, the most pivotal role style has played in my life, is my own mindset shift to desire fewer, better things (to steal a line from Cuyana) that will be long-lasting and have lower impact on the people and environment. 

Lindsay Clason, Community Engagement

Please introduce yourself! 

I’m Lindsay – I oversee Community Engagement and Influencer Relations here at Nisolo. I’m originally from California, but the South has charmed me into hanging my hat here for the past four years. As you can guess from my job title, I love people.

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My down time is filled to the brim with friends – going to their shows, sitting at their bars, popping in their shops, helping with their projects, you name it! This city is special because it celebrates its people and triumphs their dreams, and I’m so happy to call Nashville and Nisolo home.

From LA to Nashville, talk to us about what role these cities have played in the development of Nisolo’s brand?

Being a California girl, these two cities have been formative as to who I am, and I believe that is visible in Nisolo as well. Fashion is certainly not the first thing you think of when it comes to Nashville, and LA certainly wouldn’t be top of list for strong community and ethics. I think we bridge a lot of gaps that can be found in these two cities, and create something entirely own along the way.

How would you personally characterize the Nisolo community and how do you hope to see it evolve?

The Nisolo community, to me, is one of inclusion. Just as our shoes are worn by a wide variety of folks, I feel that we as a brand bring in those around us and celebrate their unique passions. Being centered in Nashville, it seems as though everyone is here actively chasing down a dream – and we loving being a part of that! Whether we’re on their feet, the tote they throw their laptop in, or just where they come for inspiration – we love being a part of that process.

Nicole Gallardo, Showroom and Events Manager

Please introduce yourself! 

Above all, I value relationships and faith. I enjoy deep conversations about life and dreaming up big ideas. When I am not at Nisolo, you’ll find me working with two other local start-up companies. I surround myself those who aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves. I love doing life with my guy, Joshua. 

STUDIO VISITS ARE PRETTY COMMON WHEN IT COMES TO LEARNING MORE ABOUT DESIGNERS. ASIDE FROM THE PROCESS, WHAT OTHER ELEMENTS OF A STUDIO VISIT DO YOU THINK ARE WORTH TALKING MORE ABOUT?

I think culture is huge. You learn a lot about a brand when you lean into the culture of their work space. 

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe? 

Great question. I am on the go all day most days – managing the showroom to meeting a new client to having a brainstorming session that leads to happy hour.  Simple, classic and comfortable are the words that always come to mind when I am standing in front of my closet picking out my look for the day. Oh and of course, my Nisolo’s. They are truly an essential piece to every outfit. 

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Sarah Cox, Customer Experience

Please introduce yourself!

I moved from Florida. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside creating my dream patio and trying to grow a green thumb. I’m always nesting and looking for new ways to make my home feel inviting. I enjoy sharing a meal with friends, traveling, or taking it easy with my latest tv obsession. I value relationships and in-depth conversations. My newest conversation staring is my pet duck Buddy who loves to visit the Nisolo office from time to time.

We love Nisolo’s meaning, and with this in mind, how has working in social good/fashion helped you to not feel alone/find your sense of community?

Working alongside people who care less about moving up the corporate ladder and care more about relationships and a lasting impact. I’m customer-facing in my role here in the US but spend a good portion of my time communicating with our teams in Kenya and Peru. Our impact intern in Peru and I work closely to translate positive customer reviews so that our producers can be encouraged on a weekly basis. 

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The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I’m always looking for ways to be comfortable with my everyday style. My go-to outfits tend to be a mix of denim and basic cotton pieces. I, of course, integrate my favorite Nisolo shoes and jewelry. I’m currently living in my Ecuador Sandals. 

Belinda McCormick, Customer Experience

Please introduce yourself! 

Day to day, I’m a pretty low-key person who enjoys sewing, cooking or playing with my sweet pup, Olive. I’ve never been one to feel content in a single place for too long so I’ve spent a lot of my life traveling or moving to new places. No matter where I go, Alaska will always be home and I miss it everyday.  I value my faith above all else and I’m constantly in awe of the amazing people in my life. 

How do you celebrate personal style?

To me, it’s just about being comfortable with who you are and finding a style that best represents that. I tend to be a minimalist in most aspects of my life and I think that carries over into my personal style.

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Nisolo is truly a global brand – with that in mind, how do you hope to see the community evolve? 

I’m so proud of what we’re doing at Nisolo. My role is largely customer-facing and it’s such a pleasure to be the person who gets to hear how excited people are about our brand and what we’re trying to do. I’m hopeful our mission will stretch far beyond just Nisolo. I’d love to see members of this community see what we’re doing and feel inspired to do something of their own.  

Chris Moyse, Fulfillment

Please introduce yourself! 

I’m Chris and I’m a Fulfillment Supervisor! When I’m not doing that, I’m a singer-songwriter and performing musician around Nashville.  My idea of fun is hanging out with a few close friends around a fire, enjoying some drinks, and playing music. I’m also really into hiking and am currently planning my first trip out to the Smokies this summer. Above all else, I value time spent outdoors as well as my friends and family.

Nisolo is truly a global brand – with that in mind, how has being a part of something so global/massive re-inspired your love for living/working in a city like Nashville? 

Working for a company like Nisolo has made me pay more attention to things like where my clothes come from, who makes them, how much money those people make, etc. This has given me a deeper appreciation for not only what we do, but also for how lucky we are to have the jobs and lives that we have. I realize how fortunate I am to live in such a great city and to have been given such great opportunities.

How would you advise the next generation of makers, creative/fashion professionals or people in general to leave in a imprint in the world just by doing what they love? 

It really is possible to love your job. It’s not always easy, but if you can find what you’re truly passionate about and work at it, you can make money doing what you love. For me, that means working with like-minded people at Nisolo and fulfilling my need to give something back to the community, as well as being able to play music. These are the two main things that drive me and get me excited to wake up every morning. It may sound cliche but nothing compares to working hard at the life you want and seeing it unfold before you.

Alice Lee, Kenya Liaison

Please introduce yourself! 

My former Instagram bio defined myself as an “intentional explorer,” and I think that is still a true definition of who I am and my values. 

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I love immersing myself in different cultures and spending time getting to know people from different backgrounds on an individual level which has truly inspired my love of travel. I am also a photographer and lover of the outdoors!

Walk us through your journey with Nisolo – how has being a part of a  global brand influenced your approach to personal style?

As a recent college graduate, neither my close friends nor myself can afford the price tag usually associated with “ethical fashion,” but working with Nisolo really influenced my values of “quality over quantity” and realizing that spending more for one shirt that I can wear regularly is much more valuable than a discounted shirt that I’ll barely ever wear. Knowing this has really influenced my desire to purchase less products for more value. Also having the opportunity to work directly with our jewelry-makers puts a face and story to the product we make and I love being able to represent and share that story through my style – making my style much more intentional and meaningful.

Nisolo is truly a global brand – with that in mind, how has being a part of something so global/massive re-inspired your love for living/working in a city like Nashville? 

I’m assuming this means living/working in a city like Nairobi – in which case I think Nairobi is really the hub of East Africa, maybe even all of Sub-Saharan Africa, for innovation and social change through trade and commerce. Everyone I meet here is doing life-impacting work and it is exciting and inspiring to be a part of that environment where I am constantly being challenged to question and grow. I also love that I get to work directly with our makers every single day and know them on a personal level so that I can better understand the challenges our makers face regularly and know how Nisolo can play a role in benefitting them on a personal level. 

Jodie Cherry, HR Manager

Please introduce yourself! 

My name is Jodie and I am a lover of life, puppies, dark chocolate, and all the travels and good eats.  I value deep, meaningful relationships, happiness in life, and working hard at whatever I’m doing. I’m recently engaged to the kindest human out there, and I’m new to Nashville.  I spend a lot of time outdoors with my dog #jacksoncherry, and with my sweet sister Kelsey. 

How would you personally characterize the Nisolo community and how do you hope to see it evolve?

Have you ever been a part of a company where people actually want to go to team socials after work and hang out together without it feeling forced?

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That is what the community at Nisolo provides. Nisolo is a shortened Spanish phrase for ‘not alone’. Our work family provides a place where teammates are never alone.  We are all in it together. 

How would you describe your day to day at Nisolo and what do you wish more people asked you about your role at a brand like Nisolo?

A lot of people may assume HR is the boring side of a fashion company. Obviously, I disagree.  My work is so cool because I get to touch every single area of the business. Recruiting the best people, developing them, and seeing them flourish… LOVE it. I see my job as the glue. HR is the role that holds everything else together, and is the primary driver of company culture. I think Nisolo is showing that there’s another way, that we can have a balanced use of machines with good working conditions, and that then we can all benefit from the creativity and problem solving capabilities of people working together toward a common goal.

Daryl Edwards, VP Peru Operations

Please introduce yourself! 

Buenos dias! Hello from Peru! I’m excited to be on the front lines of Nisolo’s direct impact in Peru, after having lived and worked in several countries. I’ve always been driven by a thirst for learning “how stuff works” and by a strong sense of responsibility. I was born to a middle-class working family in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, and that combined with a little hard work has meant that many doors are open for me – which absolutely isn’t true for most people in the world. I think that gives me a responsibility to use the opportunities I’ve received to help make opportunities for others, that wouldn’t otherwise have them despite hard work and incredible talent – like our Nisolo shoemakers. Living in Peru I have many opportunities to travel and discover new places on weekends (beach, mountain or jungle), and great access to amazing fresh ingredients for my experiments fusing the cuisines I’ve learned to cook along the way – Indian, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Nicaraguan and now Peruvian. And of course, no description of me would be complete without mentioning my ongoing mission to make the perfect shot of espresso – I think I’m getting close!

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Nisolo playing in this shift in thinking?

There’s a huge conversation that is starting to happen in the fashion industry around labor. From the Rana Plaza collapse and inhumane working conditions to Adidas’ new “Speedfactory” in Germany, completely replacing labor with machines and avoiding the environmental effects of international shipping I think we’re reaching a turning point.

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How would you advise the next generation of makers, creative/fashion professionals or people in general to leave in a imprint in the world just by doing what they love? 

There’s a lot of smart, talented people out there, and there’s a lot of disciplined hard workers – but not many that are both. Pick a goal, build a plan to get there, want it more than everyone else and work harder to get it, and be open to learning and making course corrections – even changing the goal – along the way. 

Ashley Peak, Creative Manager

Please introduce yourself! 

Hi, I’m Ashley Peak. Outside of Nisolo, you will usually find me outside, enjoying an any and all kinds of activity. I love Nashville in that it offers a beautiful mix of city and nature. I teach and practice yoga, and enjoy time with my husband, friends, and puppy, Sybil. In life, I value learning and growth. I try to seek opportunities that provide that experience. To any travel opportunity I say yes, with the hope of meeting new people, tasting new things, and feasting my eyes on new landscapes. 

How do you celebrate personal style? 

I celebrate personal style through wearing things that make me feel confident and allow me to have fun. I love simple basics, paired with a killer pair of shoes or bold earrings. Most importantly, I believe style should be a reflection of the person rather than the trends, and of course not taken too seriously.

Lee Reeves, Logistics and Fulfillment

Please introduce yourself! 

Hi I am Lee Reeves and I handle our warehousing functions and some of our supply chain. Outside of Nisolo I am usually spending time with my wonderful wife and our little dog June. Few things give me more joy than inviting all my friends over and just sitting on the porch. More than anything I value community and building relationships. 

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

As a kid I loved dinosaurs so much. I would get books from the library about dinosaurs and I would read those national geographic encyclopedias about dinosaurs. So, I know a ton of Jurassic Park trivia. I wish people would give me more opportunities to show off my dino knowledge.

How would you characterize your day to day at Nisolo?

Even though I don’t directly interact with customers my day to day is making people happy. 99% of the time anyway! I love the thought of all our shoes in transit to customer’s door steps. I wish people asked me more about my interactions with Peru. I get to interact with our team in Peru daily and I cherish the relationships I am building there. I really consider it a privilege to work with a global team. Especially one as talented and dedicated as ours.