We started Renegade Folk back in November 2007 and in a few months, we’ll be turning 12. As with birthdays, we're pushed to look back and reflect on our journey to better inform where we’re going.
Our goal was simple—to introduce thoughtfully designed shoes to the mid-market, where most of us are.
Rockwell Urban Bazaar, January 2010
We aimed for designs that were different and interesting but still very much affordable and usable everyday. That’s why we named it Renegade Folk—Renegade to stay true to our different thus unique tastes, Folk for everyone to be able to strongly relate & use them.
Starting out was exhilarating, we introduced unique designs and marketed them in a fun way—and people loved it. But throughout our journey of building a brand, we’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs that really tested our commitment. It was hard to the point of closing down in 2011. We said goodbye and had a closing out sale. Our stocks were quickly sold out and we received a lot of care messages from our customers. That made us doubt our decision and gave us hope. We tried again and never looked back since.
In 2012, we quit our full-time jobs to solely focus on building Renegade Folk.
Entrepreneur Magazine, August 2012
Throughout the years, we tried working with a lot of local shoemakers to meet the growing demand. We offered a wide variety of styles so we can keep our promise of making RF accessible to different tastes and personalities. But behind the scenes, we were struggling to keep up. Maintaining the same quality across all styles & across different suppliers seemed impossible for a small team. So we decided to focus—from offering heels, closed shoes, brogues, etc., we focused on leather sandals. It was something our customers needed the most which our local shoemakers showed strong potential in.
We eventually owned the leather sandals category. But to make it sustainable, our local shoemakers had to keep up with the day-to-day demands of a growing and evolving company. Cancelled Production Orders. Delayed deliveries. Inconsistent quality & fittings. These are only some of the challenges we face everyday which we’re continuously trying to fix. It's an uphill battle and it's going to take time.
Now with 7 outlets, our local shoemakers have to keep up with the day-to-day demands of a growing brand. We’re also facing evolving needs from our RF community which are pushing us to improve our production and product development. Relying on our current strategy can’t sustain our local community of customers, partners and team members—we need to dream bigger.
We need to expand our criteria for choosing our makers beyond just craftsmanship—professionalism and ethical practices are crucial as well. All three are necessary and can’t be without the other.
Mang Munding, RF Sapatero
In the near future, we’re going to launch initiatives to further help our local family of shoemakers. It will help them expand and evolve—be better, dream bigger and achieve world-class standards. Alongside this, we’re going to partner with carefully selected global makers from whom our local makers can learn from, who can also answer the unmet needs of our customers. By merging local with global standards, we are able to uplift what it means to be truly local.
Thank you for continuing to be a part of this journey with us! We’re all sorts of scared and excited, but we hope you’re eager to see what’s next for Renegade Folk ❤️
Reg, Tina & Bea