How Four Sisters Are Making Waves With Their Made-in-Colombia Shoe Brand

It’s been a slow and steady process for the made-in-Colombia shoe brand Kaanas. Founded in 2013 by sisters Adriana, Juliana, Natalia and Liliana Acevedo, shoemaking has been in their blood since birth, and they plan to continue the family business.

Growing up, their father had shoe stores in Colombia, while their mother owned a small factory. “Shoes are all we know,” Liliana, 32, the brand’s designer and creative director, told FN. “It’s personal. We grew up around samples, around leathers. This is a passion.”

Kaanas spring 2019 shoes
Kaanas founders Natalia (L) and Liliana Acevedo.
CREDIT: Federica Dall'Orso

Kaanas all started with an espadrille, and the line has since grown to include sandals, mules, flats, booties, block-heels and its most popular category, sneakers. The wearable assortment, which are handmade by local artisans and focuses on a feminine aesthetic, retails for under $200.

Since the launch, Kaanas found wholesale partners in Nordstrom, Shopbop, as well as 500 independent boutique retailers.

Kaanas spring 2019 shoes
Kaanas spring ’19.
CREDIT: Federica Dall'Orso

Now, the millennial entrepreneurs plan to expand their e-commerce business. By owning their own factory, which Juliana, 26, runs logistics and production, the Acevedos see an advantage.

Liliana said, “[It cuts cost.] I can sample as much as I want and fast. We are quick to market. I can do a shoe in 24 hours if we had to do, so for sampling and new developments. It’s advantageous.”

Brand awareness is key for growth, according to the founders. The duo will be putting their efforts toward marketing, social media and celebrity placement.

And while the family-owned company is based in Colombia, the label’s focus is on the U.S. market. However, their hometown has been nothing but supportive.

“There’s a huge female entrepreneur [wave]. It’s incredible. Colombian fashion brands are having a good moment. There are thriving brands,” said Liliana, “Being a woman in the fashion industry in Colombia, you are supported. They give you a lot of credit and recognition.”

She added, “We are growing. We have patience. Our dad taught us that this takes time.”

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