American heritage brand Salt-Water Sandals is now available in Singapore – great news for everyone who loves comfortable footwear! We caught up with CEO RACHAEL LAINÉ to find out about her journey with the brand and why she’s excited about the reception to the stylish yet durable waterproof sandals for women and kids in the range.
Tell us about yourself; when did you move to Singapore?
I’m a Londoner who spent 24 years growing up in Hong Kong before moving around the world as an adult. I’ve worked in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK before moving back to Asia with my family in August 2019. In February 2020, I decided to stop travelling for work so we could all go and explore Singapore together – and then COVID locked us down!
We have still managed to fall in love with the island and its food and wildlife, and my kids have really taken to an outdoors life after the chillier North London experience of their childhood.
How did you get started with Salt-Water Sandals?
I spotted these leather waterproof sandals for women and kids when I was on maternity leave with my second child. I was scrolling mummy blogs at midnight and saw them written about on a blog being published out of Brooklyn, NYC.
My professional background is in marketing – in particular, specialising in brand launch communications – and I immediately saw their potential. I tried to get a US retailer to send them to the UK and ended up having my sister ship some from Miami to New York. Finally, she brought them home to me in her hand luggage. As soon as I tried them on, with my daughter wearing a tiny size-18 first-walker pair, I could see how well they would do outside the US market.
I wrote them a proposal in the summer of 2010 and the rest is history!
What kind of women’s sandals are available in the range?
We like to think there is a sandal for everyone in our range. We sell to all kinds of people, young and old. For instance, we have those customers who favour the classic tan, whilst others dress it up in a metallic pewter or rose gold. We have shiny patent juicy-fruit colours for a vibrant full stop to your outfit. And then there are the standard white, black and traditional burgundy claret.
The one thing we don’t do is high-heeled sandals. Our designs are all traditional flat sandals made from the 1940s – that’s what we do best. You can wear them cycling your bike in the rain or dressed up with a long maxi dress for poolside cocktails.
Is it only women’s sandals? Tell us a bit about the size range.
We sell these leather waterproof sandals for women and kids. In fact, the kids’ sandals came first – that’s how the business was born. The first pair were made for the owners’ daughter out of scrap leather from a factory floor during the Second World War. Only in later years did they scale up the kids’ designs to include larger versions for mums.
When I first started selling, there was only one design for ladies; now there are six, and we are launching another two this summer. We sell from baby size EU17 all the way up to EU42. My next plan is to get some leather sandals for men!
What are the plans for Salt-Water Sandals in Singapore as far as ‘experiencing’ goes?
Currently, we sell online and have a concession in Tanglin Mall at Firefly. However, in May, we are moving on from that pop-up. We wanted to gauge the reaction first, and the demand is certainly there!
We have also teamed up with Singapore’s super-stylist influencer Sherlyn Chan; she is selling both the sandals for women and the kids range really well via her store, A Greener Wood. They launched in the the same week Sherlyn had her second baby and she was quite overwhelmed at the response! She sold out in under two days; so we are looking at expanding our range with her.
Recently, we were delighted to be approached by Takashimaya and will be exclusively featuring in the department store in two separate areas: we’ll have a dedicated brand space in the shoe department on the second floor; and we’ll also be the sole footwear brand in a new concept area on the third floor.
We’re also discussing Asian expansion with a few partners; ideally, we want our own store, but selling online and having special relationships with others is what works for now. We offer free shipping island-wide and when we do launch our own store it will be an expanded concept store – so keep your eyes peeled!
Find out more at the Salt-Water Sandals website.
Now you’ve got the most comfortable sandals it time to do some fun things in Singapore!