At some point in our lives, we all would have owned a pair. From the vibrant Converse colours to the solid NMD designs, sneakers have always been prominent fashion fixtures in various subcultures.
For all the money that we spend on our sneakers, some of which are obscenely expensive, how much do we know about taking care of them? Well, this team of Singaporeans are confident they can help.
You might have already seen them on Facebook or even visited their place at Wheelock, but what do you actually know about the team handling your precious kicks?
The Team And Their Sneakers
The sneaker team consists of Holystic sneaker technicians – Shawn, Theron, Sherman, Andrew and Darryl. There is also Weishan, who runs operations and Karen from marketing.
It turns out the startup is owned by lifestyle group THE COMPANY and the founders are a little media shy, so the mystery there remains unsolved.
But what about team interest in sneakers?
“One half of our sneaker technicians are sneaker aficionados, and some of them own over 50 pairs of limited edition sneakers. The other half are sneaker wearers, but not hard-core collectors,” Karen shares.
They don’t have a favourite brand but a casual look around the studio, and Karen shares that there are plenty of “Jordans, Yeezys, Vans and classic New Balances”.
The Holystic Story?
Turns out that the motivation behind Holystic was actually based on a whole lot of spontaneity.
During a night of drinks, a friend had complained about how there wasn’t a place where people could have their sneakers cleaned, to which they had replied, “it was a great idea, and we would do just that.”
When they first began, they were washing shoes and sneakers contributed by family and friends.
“We also scoured places like Salvation Army and flea-markets for “cheap” sneakers that we could wash. We actually damaged quite a few pairs in the process and learnt from them,” Karen adds.
The next step came with them going onto Carousell.
While business took off, they did bump into new obstacles. Meeting customers at MRT stations at odd timings meant a quick turnover and often, they did not have time to do a proper check of the sneaker damage.
“Sometimes customers would end up blaming the damages [to the shoes] to our washing,” Karen reveals.
Their Wheelock outlet is small, so most cleaning is done back at their studio.
An interesting point to note here is that their unit is technically not an official store space. In fact, the landlord had been so excited to work with the Holystic team that they had “created” a space just for them.
At the start of the day, duty technicians (DT) goes through the work list and assigns sneakers to the rest. Meanwhile, they handle the tougher cleaning and drop-off assessments with customers.
The drop-off process now is also a huge improvement from their online days, Karen reflects.
Technicians now have a 10-minute process consisting of 15 compulsory check-points to inspect the sneakers properly, take photos, as well as recommend care solutions to customers.
These Jason Markk care kits can also be purchased at their Wheelock outlet.
During consultation, they take care to not over-promise what they can or cannot do.
“Our first paying customer brought us 3 pairs of his NMDs even when he knew that we are new.” And because they did a good job, he also helped share his experience and reviews.
“With a shop front, people are also less worried that we will disappear with their expensive sneakers. We once had a customer from our online days asking us to pay him a deposit of $300 for washing his NMD, because he was worried we would disappear with his sneakers.”
But aside from cleaning, did you know about the second team? People can show bring by artworks or designs for the crew to hand paint onto sneakers.
“We currently do lots of camo print, customisation to a particular collaboration design, as well as colour change.”
With their interest in sneakers, working in this startup also presents an exciting adventure for the team.
Karen reveals that they have collected about 350 pairs so far, 50 of which are Yeezys.
For the ‘most expensive’ category, they have come across $4,200 Louis Strass Flats (Christian Louboutin) as well as $1,800 Pradas and Buscemi 100mm Croc Skins.
And for ‘most wow’, the team got really excited over Adidas Yeezy Moon Rocks, Air Jordan 4 “Bred” and “Fear Pack”, as well as a Adidas x Hypebeast Ultra Boost.
Talk about a dream job come true.
Sneaker workshops are in the works, Karen reveals. By end April, the team plans to start workshops teaching owners about cleaning as well as customising unique sneaker styles.
Featured Image Credit: The Holystic Sneaker Laundry Team