Shane and Isiah are redefining what it means to walk by faith. The Co - Founders of one of the hottest up and coming shoe brands based out the nations capital, No Lost Sole discuss how they were able to leverage their faith and hunger for business to create a purpose driven enterprise. Beyond the shoe game and dapper attire, these brothers have substance. They were able to discover their purpose and turn it into profit, all while becoming better men in the process.
Stature: You two represent the fashion industry. What are first impressions or introductions like for you two? Are shoes the first thing you look at when introduced to someone?
Zay: I'm more of a risk taker when it comes to fashion. If I have to think about it twice, like could I do that? I do it! So, I pay attention to details when meeting someone, but someone's shoes say a lot them.
Shane: When being introduced to the ladies, for me, the first thing I notice is the smile and teeth. Those are a big deal for me, but her shoe game does have to be on point! As a man, I'm checking out the sneakers first.
Stature: How would you describe your individual style?
Zay: I like to be different because I feel like it forces other people to be different also. I feel like society tries to force us to be in this box but me being outside of that box, motivates others to think, hmm I can wear something like that too. That's kind of where my mind is. I like people to notice that I care about the way I look, fashionably. I just put clothes on, I don't care about matching. If I wear a dope shirt, I'm going to put on some regular jeans, but I want you to see the shirt. However, if I have some dope jeans, then I'm going to be a plain shirt. I try to be fun. I don't care about matching.
Shane: I'd say I'm versatile. Today I'm in a suit but tomorrow will be some basketball shorts. I'll go to work, and It'll be some salmon pants with loafers on in a white shirt or something. I'm all over the place.
Stature: Did you always see yourselves as creators of a shoe brand?
Shane: Short answer, no. However, you know I believe it's never too late to reinvent yourself. Anybody can get a do-over. I'm an IT professional by day, but I knew I didn't want to be boxed-in doing one particular thing from a career or entrepreneurial standpoint.
Zay: I'd be in meetings and think about how no one looked like me. Once I leave work, I get to take my mask off and be the real me. I knew I wanted to create or be a part of something that wouldn't force me to have to change my facial expressions or tones. I didn't necessarily know that it'd be a shoe company.
Stature: The origins of No Lost Soul was faith-based and seems to have a significant influence on your brand identity. How much has your faith impacted your brand?
Zay: Well, Shane and I grew up in the church. It would have just been demeaning or like a slap in the face not to acknowledge where our inspiration to start our business came from. Everybody's going through their journeys in life. Everyone's got their own struggles, but you're not alone. There are no lost "souls" in the light; everybody is connected.
Shane: To keep it one-thousand, Zay and I were like, we're going to start this shoe company. We just started writing names down on a napkin. Zay wrote down No Lost Sole; I was like that has to be it! Yeah, it has to be because of the whole spiritual background. I think over time it just grew to where it is now and continues to grow.
Stature: How has the process of creating and selling your shoes been?
Shane: We've been through some situations with this shoe thing, we're like… Yo, do we want to do this for real? In the beginning, we were like, we're about to get all these shoes and then we're gonna sell like this amount. Then we'll re-up and do it all over again and make $100k. Then reality set in and on our first day it was …dun-dun-dun, not one damn sale at all.
However, I like not knowing what to do sometimes. It sounds crazy because when you don't know what to do, sometimes you might go ahead risk it all then that risk might be like damn that worked out for real.
Stature: Mental health is a big topic right now. As men, we seem to internalize or suppress what we can internalize things because it's the manly thing to do. How do you process the ups and downs of not only entrepreneurship but also day-to-day living?
Shane: Mental health is a big thing today, you know. It is in our day and age but for me personally, if it weren't for God, I'd lose my mind. Because there are times, where this shoe thing rattles you. I think it's essential to step away sometimes and chill. You know, time to relax. It just can't be all business all the time.
Like most millennials, I want my success now; I think we all want our success now. However, if it comes easy, then it doesn't mean anything. That's why I'm starting to enjoy some of the failures and some of the times where I don't know what to do because ten years from now I'll look back and think, divine order like it just all worked out.
Stature: We think your loafers are dope, but why should people buy them?
Zay: Well for one, we are real people, we come from a struggle, a place of discomfort and we decided to take the initiative, to take a risk to try to do something that many people probably only think about and that's respectable. I think you've got to pay homage to anyone who decides to take a risk in business.
Secondly, I think that we have high-quality shoes, people call them pillows. Our shoes are handmade and have good leather quality, good sweet quality.
Shane: I'll say is God is gone bless you if you buy a pair of No Lost Soles.
Stature: What does Stature mean and represent to you?
Shane: I would say Stature stands for a foundation family, community and black men can stand on to . get the realness of who we really are.
Zay: I think of presence when I think of Stature. Presence isn't always physical but also conscious state of mind that knows we're the flavor of the world.