Yosi Samra, the American who invented his eponymous brand’s trademark “fold-up” flats, never thought that his product would make it big in the Philippines.
And while some would attribute the footwear’s local success to the fact that such Hollywood stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry are fans of Yosi Samra, the company readily credits its regional partner and distributor Green Tee Inc. for its success in the country.
After acquiring rights to distribute the brand nationwide in 2011, the Manila-based company expanded Yosi Samra’s reach across Southeast Asia and did just as well in those markets.
“We started out with one kiosk in Greenbelt and within three months, we sold out our stock. And then we re-ordered. By then, there was so much demand that we opened two more doors in the same year. We were able to grow into five stores in less than a year. We [then]decided to try the same approach in other places. A few months later, we started in Indonesia [in 2012]and Singapore also came [in 2014],” recalled Stephen Elizaga Chua, Regional Business Strategy and Development head.
Asked how Green Tee actually convinced Samra to enter the Philippines, Chua answered, “Initially, when Yosi signed on [with us], it was only for a limited run—just like a trial. But I think the actual performance exceeded the expectation. So he said, ‘OK, let’s get into business.’”
Since then, the iconic footwear brand has done very well indeed in these shores as it already carries 13 branches found in Manila, Bacalod, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo. As another proof of good business, the distributing arm launched in September the brand’s latest collection for Fall/Winter 2015.
The newest line puts the spotlight on the brand’s staples made of genuine leather and suede done in neutrals with some in basic colors like red, blue and black. There are few bolder choices in various prints and patterns, as well as embellishments of stones and ribbons.
More importantly, each pair folds up into a 4.5-inch x 3-inch package so it can taken by modern Filipinas from day to night.
But what really sets Yosi Samra apart from the many labels of foldable flats in the market? “It’s when a woman puts on the shoes,” Chua answered.
Elaborating on this, he continued, “Our selling point really is the comfort of the shoes. Other shoe brands are made only as a band-aid—like a temporary solution for heels when you need to go from this block to that block. You are not supposed to wear it for a long time unlike Yosi, which you can wear the whole day.”
Indeed, the quality and durability of Yosi Samra is not surprising for its inventor is a second-generation shoe designer who grew up in his father’s shoe factory in New York City. The brand is available in over 1,000 boutiques across the US and in 85 other countries.
For updates on collections, log on to www.facebook.com/YosiSamraPhilippinesand www.instagram.com/yosisamra.ph.