Friday, September 17, 2010

Introducing Inca Boots

BeansTalk Visits With Inca Owner Evan Streusand

Uggs are so over! Ed Hardy suede boots use faux shearling. Inca Boot Company, of Austin, TX and owned by Evan Streusand and Matthew Holman, is a new company of women’s boots.

The boots are flat and versatile and designed to incorporate the Peruvian influence which comes from Streusand's 2004 life-changing trip to Peru. While walking the streets of Peru, Streusand encountered multiple craftsmen selling everything from jewelry to footwear. One man in particular was hand making a pair of boots that ultimately went home with Streusand which he still wears to this day. Impressed by the detail given to each pair of boots, Streusand returned to the states with a new appreciation for the Peruvian way of life.

Streusand planned a business idea to take his Peruvian inspiration to create a boot business in America. He returned to Peru in 2007 to further observe the culture and the process in which footwear is made. Each Inca pair is handmade and manufactured in Peru.

Inca Boots are made of suede with an interior made of lambskin. Each pair is designed with a Peruvian inspired pattern made of lamb’s wool seen on the top of the foot and around the upper part of the boot.

Our Interview

Streusand spoke with BeansTalk about the phenomena of Inca Boots:

What is your background Evan and what brought you to Peru?

I grew up more interested in the arts than anything else, mainly focusing on playing music and filmmaking, though in school I studied communications. After college I worked odd jobs and saved up enough money to go backpacking throughout various parts of South America. Cusco, Peru was actually the last stop on my trip and it was there that I found my inspiration for the boots.

Had you ever thought of starting a boot company or was your sole inspiration the trip and the boots?

I had never thought about starting a boot company until I first came across this particular style. Oddly enough, as a native Texan I had sort of rebelled against wearing boots in general. For the longest time I just didn’t see the appeal. That all changed of course.

What makes Inca Boots different than other boots out there now?

For one, Inca Boots simply look different than anything being sold currently. They’re the perfect mix of fashion and practicality. I’m not sure you could say the same thing about UGG’s, though I guess they’re practical in certain regions. Also, unlike UGG’s, our boots are made by hand in the specific region where the style was originated, and that authenticity is something that’s very important to us. The level of skill required by the artists that make our boots is very high. We could never turn these over to some factory in China and still maintain our standards of quality.

How durable are they?

I’ve had the same pair (of men’s boots) for 6 years.

So many boots now are made of faux suede and it seems like consumers don't understand how inferior a material that is for shoes and especially boots. Can you address that?

I can understand if a customer is looking to save a few bucks on their shoes, as a faux suede is typically cheaper to produce. At the same time, if you want something that will last and something that is inevitably softer and generally more pleasant to the touch then there’s really no debate to be had. In an ideal world a truly authentic suede would always win out.

That said, it seems like Uggs, which everyone and their mother seems to own, are on their way out -- why should Incas take their place in popularity?

As I said earlier, I don’t find UGG’s to be all that appealing in a purely aesthetic sense. I realize that they’re comfortable, but that seems to be about the limit of their appeal. They don’t really add to someone’s style. Not only are Inca Boots comfortable, but they can be the centerpiece of any girl’s ensemble – whether they’re being worn with a dress, a skirt, leggings or just an old pair of blue jeans. Our boots can “make the outfit,” so to speak, instead of taking away from it.

What are your most popular styles?

Currently our most popular style is the Tall Tan boot. The tan suede is gorgeous and the pattern we chose to go with it really pops.

What is the difference between the short and tall -- it's more subtle than just a bootie -- which type do you recommend for what kind of woman? (ie pants wearers should get short, etc…?)

It’s actually quite simple. Taller girls tend to prefer the taller boots and shorter girls the short.

Austin gets so hot in the summer -- what does Inca do -- ie what shoes/styles are popular in that season?

Austin is not a great market for us during the summertime, though our boots can still be worn in most climates as long as it’s not 100 degrees outside. Since we haven’t yet developed a spring line we’ll be focusing on other parts of the country during the summer season.

Do you have any celebs?

Not as of yet – do you know anybody? :)