The Line Break: Indosole ‘Welcome To Balifornia’
The idea for Indosole was conceived in 2004 when a couple Californians went on a surf trip to Bali, Indonesia. Struck by the environmental issues faced by Indonesians, and inspired by an unusual pair of sandals they found there, Kyle Parsons and crew stumbled upon an idea for a brand. By combining these two elements, Indosole was born and has been building its story and culture for the past five years around recycled footwear— specifically converting salvaged tires into soles for shoes, which are manufactured entirely in Bali.
This Spring, the brand has launched a new campaign, “Welcome To Balifornia,” that they feel represents the best of both worlds. Also, Parsons and his team are making an organic expansion from re-purposed footwear into men’s and women’s apparel. With all this in mind, we caught up with Indosole Co-founder Parsons to hear more about what “Balifornia” will look like next season, how the new line is being received by retailers, and what they are most stoked on.
The Welcome to Balifornia idea is a really cool concept. How and when did you come up with the idea behind this and how did you translate it to the product?
Balifornia came about because Indosole is based out of California and our 100% re-purposed tire soles are salvaged from mechanics and landfills in Bali, Indonesia and that’s also where our product is manufactured. Because California and Bali are such amazing places in their own way we wanted to fuse the best parts of both; the insatiable California spirit of Wanderlust, combined with the rich tradition and vibrant colors of Bali.
Check out some key looks from Indosole’s expanded Fall 2014 line:
Does this concept carry over into Spring 15? What other inspirations will we see in the new collection?
The Baliornia concept is an ethos of our brand and will continue on forever. It represents our business with the cross-over lifestyle that we live and promote between Bali and California.
Spring 15′ continues a similar theme of combining what is happening now in surf and fashion in California with Bali tradition. Next year’s line will tap into the native roots of both our homes and feature new colors, patterns, and even 2 new shoe models that we are really excited about. We started with just 4 models of sandals in 2010 and our line is expanding at a pace we feel we can keep up with.
How did you start working with Batik? Is this something you plan to continue to create within Indosole’s future collections?
Batik is one of Indonesia's most highly developed art forms and symbolizes the culture. The Batik fabric we used is hand-dyed with traditional Balinese wax-resist methods which are free from toxic chemicals. Our vision was to take an age-old Balinese tradition and put a California spin on it. The deep textures give our Batik a Tie-Dye feel and each piece is truly unique. In 2015, we will roll over our two most popular Batik pieces and then will release new ones with a twist. By using trial and error, we have managed to innovate the process and find fun new ways to work with Batik.
It sounds like you deepened your offering with Spring/Summer 14. Have you continued to expand that in this new collection?
Yes, we put a lot of blood and sweat into our 2014 line and we are pumped on it. It was time for us to step it up and while having new resources we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Our Cali-Bali based design and production crew put in their work by developing new products that could compliment the story of our footwear while providing growth in the sales dept. We wanted to give our customers more products to bite into while keeping our core mission of saving tires at hand!
Indosole was established within the footwear category. Have you seen growth in your apparel collection recently as well?
After five years of existing solely on footwear it was exciting to enter the apparel and accessory game. We decided that while our storyline and reputation is based on footwear, that it would be best to tip toe our way into other items. So, we chose 4 Batik patterns that matched up with our footwear line and ran them in Organic Cotton leisure pants, shorts, and crop tanks. We also have some custom fit T-shirts and sweatshirts that have amazingly soft cotton. We rounded things off with a small bag collection for the growing demand in beach and shopping bags. Our bags feature repurposed materials such as: Burlap Coffee sacks, Rice Bags, and Canvas.
How is the expanded product line being received by retailers?
While our distribution is still quite small, we have set ourselves up to sell through and create demand this season. Our goal since the beginning has not been to go out and open every store but rather the best store in each town and give them good service. We have a loyal retailer base in Northern and Southern California and have just now entered the Hawaii, Florida, and Northeast markets. The phone has been ringing with re-orders and its the beginning of June!
What are you most stoked on about the Spring 15 Indosole collection?
Our focus is to improve our footwear by increasing comfort, sourcing the best organic materials, and honing in our handmade production process in Bali. With that plan, we are taking existing models and making them better. Our sandals will be way soft and flexy with custom footbeds and some radical designs on the footbeds.
We have a new lace-up shoe for men and women that we are really stoking on. This will be a versatile shoe for all adventures while having the same vibe as our existing products with the colorful Batik.
We want to thank everyone for the support they have given Indosole in our first five years of business. We would not be here without our friends, family, loving retailers, and consumers. Additionally, our internal crew and manufacturers have been resilient over the years and literally bleed with passion for Indosole and have made many personal sacrifices. It has been wonderful to have so many people join us on our mission and contribute in creative ways.