Despite his own shoe business screeching to a near-halt due to the coronavirus, California-based designer George Esquivel is looking to bring joy to moms this Mother’s Day.
By posting a photo of their best outfit and tagging #Quarantinechic on Instagram up until this Friday, anyone can have a chance to win a free pair of shoes for their mother (or themselves — if they’re a mother) from the brand. Here’s the twist, the winners will be judged by style experts Stacy London and George Kotsiopoulos.
“I wanted to do something nice,” Esquivel told FN. “The moms are having a hard time holding things down. There’s just so much going on. We have the inventory so let’s give some product away and step away from the craziness for a minute. Have fun and you may be rewarded.”
Three winners will win the following prizes: a pair of Esquivel women’s shoes worth up to $795 for first place; second place is an Esquivel zip clutch, worth up to $260; and the third place winner will receive an Esquivel X tote.
Though Esquivel is aiming to bring joy to people during the crisis, he admits that everyday brings a new challenge for the brand.
“We are a non-essential business and technically can’t be open. Our product isn’t inexpensive and it’s not something you need right now,” he said, noting that some online orders are still rolling in.
Meanwhile, with 50% of the brand’s business coming from wholesale, Esquivel’s also seeing inventory pile up as stores — most of which were forced to shut doors amid stay-at-home orders — continue to cancel orders.
Nevertheless, Esquivel is remaining optimistic that being a made-in-America company will be beneficial if California lifts its stay-at-home order on May 15.
“Manufacturing in the U.S. is going to be on my side when we get back,” he said. “Other companies have to fully restructure. I’m [comprised of] seven to 15 shoemakers. We are agile and can move — but I don’t know how luxury will be received going forward.”
To that end, Esquivel believes orders will be smaller and the industry will need to find strategies has to adapt.
“If your barometer of success is 100, I think it’s now 40 to 60. That’s the new normal and it will take time to get back to 100 again. Expectations and projections have to be completely changed,” he added.
Next up, Esquivel’s first order of business is relocating his Orange County facility to Downtown Los Angeles, a move which was delayed due to the pandemic. There, customers will be able to shop and see how shoes are made in an open-production layout.