How This Nashville-Based Small Business Is Competing With The Big Guns Of Fashion

Tired of hearing about slow fashion, sustainable fashion, ethical fashion?

You might not be the only one. Didactic fashion campaigns can get tiresome, saysNisolo founder Patrick Woodyard.  That’s why he’s putting his startup on a different track that’s ready to compete with the big guns of fashion — in branding, aesthetic, and social media.

Started 5 years ago, Nisolo, which means not alone in Spanish, is a brand devoted to its supply chain.  It began in Peru, employing a team of artisans, crafting leather shoes.  Woodyard, working in the microfinance world, was stunned by the workmanship but frustrated by the lack of a market.  So he founded a company, specializing in leather shoes and catering to the American market.  LA-based designer Zoe Cleary partnered with him to create classic designs, with everlasting appeal (transcending seasonal fashion trends).

Five years since, the brand has grown and acquired other companies as well, branching out beyond the confines of leather workshops in Peru to exploring new domains — handbags and even jewelry out of Kenya.

There’s one lesson that defines Nisolo’s journey, according to Woodyard.

“The story matters.  But the product and design is just as important, if not more important,” he says in a phone chat from the company’s Nashville headquarters.

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