We thought it'd be tight to share a little peek behind the curtain with our Santa Rosa Boots for SOP collaborations that hit the store & site a couple of weeks ago. If anyone reading this has any interest in the process of how we go about planning a collaboration, then you'll hopefully enjoy this. If that part doesn't interest you at all, there's a couple of sick videos to peep of the actual shoes you may be wearing right now getting made up the road in LA.
In a nutshell, our process pretty much goes like this...
Step One: Intuition
A whole lot of what we do just comes to me out of the blue. Obviously, the first things to come to mind are style, color way, and sole combinations I want to wear myself. No matter how rad something looks on paper, if I won't wear it for whatever reason, I'm not making it.
Step Two: Research
Once I get a few leather & outsole combinations dialed in mentally, I start doing my due diligence to see if any other shop has ever had a custom make up that's too similar. Sometimes, this immediately eliminates something I really love and want to make, but more often than not, it really just motivates me to think of how I can make it special, different, or better. To me, the whole point in getting to do a shop exclusive is to make something no one has done before.
Step Three: Design
This is the fun part. Picking out leather colors & types, midsole stain colors, what color and type of laces to use, and (one of my favorite things) possibly finding a really rad & under-utilized sole to use. All of these things get put into a mock up and submitted to our Santa Rosa guy, Nobu, for review. Then his job of figuring out if the leather colors/ types and soles are available anywhere begins.
Step Four: Production
Once a custom order is submitted to Nobu, it can take up to 3 months for the shoes to be completed due to many variables, like how busy the factor is or how long it will take to locate/ source the materials I want to use. During this phase, sometimes designs actually completely change, like they did this time with the Fillmore. We'd actually planned to use a totally different Vibram sole that we found out (during production) had been discontinued. Nobu tried to locate sizes in the soles but wasn't able to come up with enough to make a run, so we had to go back to the drawing board.
As it turns out, the brown Vibram looks very nice with the grey suede uppers and brown midsole, but even two weeks before the shoes were ready, we actually didn't know what they'd look like! This is also the phase when all the special little custom things get sussed out. This time, I wanted leather laces with the Dixons but also wanted to include an alternate set, so we went with round waxed laces instead of the normal flat waxed ones for a whole different look.
Step Five: Launch
The last phase is launching the new new. This go 'round, we didn't tell folks what was in the works, only that there was a custom Dixon and Fillmore. We got a lot of requests for pre-orders (site unseen), which is definitely the most mind blowing & flattering response I could ever imagine, because that's you guys putting blind faith in what I'm designing.
I was real stoked to finally see the collabs in person the 1st time (and to take my pairs home). I like to think that's maybe why folks have latched on so hard to the Santa Rosas--because I love them so much and gush about how insanely comfortable they are all the time. Right now, all three styles (Brown Dixon, Rust Dixon, Charcoal Fillmore) that arrived only about two weeks ago and first debuted at our grand re-opening party are 2/3 sold out. That's just bonkers!