Meet Richer Poorer - the newest addition to the SHOEme.ca family. Through design and utility, this Californian lifestyle accessories brand is set to change the way we wear the ordinary. We chatted to founders Iva Pawling and Tim Morse about the Richer Poorer brand - what drove them to 'elevate the ordinary' five years ago and what inspires them.
How important has the role of social media, namely Instagram been in creating a name for Richer Poorer? Tim: The rise of social media, in particular Instagram has leveled the playing field for smaller brands to compete on a global scale. Historically the barriers were extremely high. In order to be competitive you would need a large marketing budget for print advertising and it was impossible to quantify the result of that spend. From day one we realized the importance of social tools in communicating an active and authentic conversation with our consumers. For a small company of our size we’ve spent a lot of time creating an authentic voice and have made it a priority to ensure the content and execution of our voice is on point.
How has location, being from California influenced the brand and direction? Iva: California is the birthplace of cool, and we love being based in San Juan Capistrano. It’s a sleepy little town with a storied history just a few miles from the beach, and offers endless inspiration. There is a classic, casual lifestyle down here that we use as the driving direction for our brand and designs. The coast and mountains also make for some incredible photography opportunities that we try and use as often as possible.
Describe the ways in which Richer Poorer elevates the ordinary? Tim: We talk a lot about elevating ordinary products through a keen attention detail, design and quality. For example socks are an everyday essential that have been for the most part utilitarian. Our goal was to change how consumers view their association with socks and innerwear in general and I think we’re doing a good job of accomplishing this. Our brand tenant is - Elevate Everyday. These two words are a blueprint for how we approach our day, how we interact with others and generally how we live our lives. We have one shot at life, and by making the most of it we’ll elevate those around us.
Tell us a little bit about how Richer Poorer has grown from inception to now. Iva: We’ve evolved quite a bit in the last five years, with a focus on creating new products that meet the needs of our customer. For the first four years of the brands existence, we sold only one sock body, and focused primarily on patterns and colors to differentiate. We’ve now broadened our collection to include about 20 different products, with our focus on really great materials, textures and technical features. We’ve also expanded our category assortment to include boxer briefs, and it’s been an incredibly successful expansion for us.
What are some obstacles you have encountered in the apparel industry? Iva: We really love the world or apparel and brand building. Our challenges aren’t necessarily too different than other industries – supply chain frustrations, a need for better systems to operate efficiently, and the demand to constantly innovate. But on the flip side, that’s also what makes running a quickly growing brand really exciting. Every year has been drastically different than the one before. We try and embrace the challenges as opportunities to be better, and never let ourselves get too comfortable.
What or who inspires Richer Poorer’s style? Tim: Another one of Richer Poorer’s brand tenets is - Honest Hustle. Those that are grinders in life inspire us; the ones that have truly put in their time to master a craft, whether that be a teacher, entrepreneur, musician, surfer, artist, etc. There are no shortcuts in life. If you stay humble, treat people with respect, and work hard your chance for success is much higher. We champion this mindset and the people who embody it.
Describe the brands style in three words. Iva: Elevated. Timeless. Creative.
Go-to shoe? Tim: I’ll pick two. Seeing that we’re in the grips of winter I’m all about my Red Wing Moc Toe boots. I’ve had these for a couple of years now and they are like wearing slippers. Paired with our US Made Lightweight Wool Boot socks and a pair of black denim and you’re solid for anything the day throws at you.
Who are some of your personal style icons? Iva: I have a real love for classic styling with a bit of the unexpected. I have been a Gwyneth Paltrow loyalist since I was a teen. My other favorites are Oliva Palermo, Alexa Chung and Kate Moss. I think men have it a little easier than the ladies, but Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gossling and Tom Ford all usually get it right.
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened since launching the brand? Iva: We’ve been really lucky to have some incredible things happen in the last five years and reach our goals. Richer Poorer is sold in about 800 of the best stores globally, we’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal, GQ and other incredible publications, and done collaborations with everyone from The Black Keys to Redbull. But THE most exciting one is partnering with SHOES.COM. We have very lofty plans for Richer Poorer and are really excited to finally be able to put the big ideas into action and take over the drawer. Stay tuned.
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