An interview with Samira and Sandra from Cote and Badt
The latest shoe craze to hit this island has, of course, been the espadrille. Perfect for hot and humid weather, comfortable, stylish and available in a huge range of colours. The iconic Spanish espadrille is now available at The Attaby Collective during the month of May and Ordinary People were thrilled to be able to talk to Spanish friends, Samira and Sandra about their company and how it all happened.
Both Samira and Sandra have been living in Asia for over 17 years and met in 2002 while living in Beijing. At the time, both were working in international relations and they struck up a friendship. Sandra moved to Singapore over 6 years ago and when Samira also relocated here, they met again and decided it was time to reinvent themselves. This was the birth of Cote + Badt, a concept to bring pieces of Spain to Singapore’s sunny shores.
What was it that made you decide to leave your careers and start your own business?
Sandra: For me, it was a combination of circumstances. Striking the right work and family balance was not easy and the fact that we didn’t have family around didn’t help either. Taking a break to look after my child was a priority but I knew that a few years down the line, I would want to go back to work. I also soon realized that it would be very challenging to go back to those busy corporate schedules with late calls and travelling without compromising family and work life balance. It just felt right to start a new adventure.
Samira: After years of work and a career in international relations and humanitarian aid, our move to Singapore provided me with the perfect opportunity to try something new. When I met up with Sandra again, we started to talk about what we wanted for ourselves and our families. It was just the right time for both of us.
How did the both of you come together and decide on starting Cote + Badt?
Sandra: After meeting in Beijing, we continued to keep in touch when we both moved to different countries. Life then brought us together again in Singapore. I had been living here for a few years before Samira moved to Singapore. We met up, had some ideas and realized that we were ready to start up a new adventure together. So we did! It took almost a year from when we started this project to when we launched the business in September 2015.
Tell us about where your espadrilles are sourced?
Samira: We are extremely fortunate to be able to partner up and work with one of the most renown’s ateliers in Spain. Our espadrilles are handmade, designed and crafted using jute and other natural materials. Casa Hernanz is a family run business that has been making espadrilles for four generations, ever since 1845. Their house employs whole families that have mastered the art of making of these versatile and beautiful shoes. In carefully selecting our artisan house for the espadrilles, we aimed to start a long-term relationship with them and ensure the quality of each shoe. We also wanted to ensure that we could work well with our artisans in order to provide the best product and service for our customers.
Cote + Badt sell more than just espadrilles, what other items are in your shop?
Sandra: Besides our large range of handmade espadrilles for children and adults, we also sell swimwear. You can view and purchase our swimwear at our online store, www.coteandbadt.com. Our swimwear collection for women is designed by Daniela Castro from WET, using imported Spanish fabrics that are all selected with great care. The collection is inspired by global travels.
We are also always keeping an eye out for other products that we can select and incorporate into being a part of our brand and our collections.
What’s next for Cote + Badt?
Samira: We are still fairly new to this scene so we feel like this is an ongoing learning process for us. We have soft launched our online store and it is working well. We’re also looking into other possibilities like being visible on other strong, online platforms.
What would you say to anyone wanting to venture into this industry?
Sandra: If you’ve got the passion, a great idea or product, then dare to go for it. It’s not easy and it’s a constant learning process that involves a lot of work but we are loving it! We found that, here in Singapore, there are lots of successful entrepreneurs who are kindly willing to mentor and happy to give you a hand. We love all the opportunities that arise when meeting and collaborating with other brands and designers, like this great project we have now as part of The Attaby Collective.
Pick up your pair of espadrilles at The Attaby Collective, now on until the 7th of June upstairs at 76 Haji Lane.
For more information on Cote + Badt:
For more information on The Attaby Collective and Attaby:
Image of Samira and Sandra provided by Tomato Photo