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FASHION - INTERVIEW

Interview with Pepe Quintero and Mario Gutierrez, Founders and Co-CEO's of The Rice Co.

Pepe Quintero was inspired by espadrilles, a traditional part of Spanish culture, and created his own sustainable footwear brand Rice. I talked with Pepe Quintero and Mario Gutierrez about The Rice Co.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Mario Gutierrez and Pepe Quintero

Mario Gutierrez and Pepe Quintero

FASHION - INTERVIEW

by Mehmet Kaplan

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Although the fashion world has always been attractive with new designs, traditional and historical designs have always been in our lives. Sometimes we color our lives with the products used in their traditional form, and sometimes we shape our style with brand new pieces inspired by traditional products. Pepe Quintero founded Rice in 2013. Since then, The Rice Co. has been producing sneakers and espadrilles, which combine traditional form with today's design approach, and also utilizes natural and organic materials through a sustainable production process. I talked with Pepe Quintero and Mario Gutierrez, Founders and Co-CEO's of The Rice Co., about the past and the present of Barcelona based sustainable footwear brand Rice.

Pepe and Mario, before start talking about The Rice Co., could you tell us about yourselves? Who is Pepe Quintero? Who is Mario Gutierrez?

We both born and grew up in Barcelona, we’re friends from school, we both shared a passion for music and this makes us friends.

Pepe: After studying International Business I went to New York for a first job. I spent there two years and came back to Spain to start my own brand.

Mario: After studying Business Administration I got hired in a consumer goods giant company and worked there for 6 years, then I moved to Rice to start pursuing my dream.

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

How did you become interested in the footwear industry? What inspired you to establish The Rice Co.?

Pepe: While in NY, I was wearing my all-time classic espadrilles from Spain, a very simple and old shoe that me, my parents and grandparents had been wearing since always. My friends wanted my espadrilles and decided to create a cool espadrilles brand with that product. I was passionate about footwear so that was kind of a dream job. After some years alone and asked Mario to join Rice and take it to the next level, thank his help we made Rice what it is today.

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

Could you tell us about The Rice Co.?

We are a sustainable footwear brand from sunny Barcelona. Rice was born as a tribute to our history, to the Mediterranean, and to the outdoor lifestyle.

Our aim is to bridge the gap between handcrafted artisan shoes and modern streetwear fashion combining past and future and blending the old Mediterranean shoe tradition with high-end footwear design.

How did you decide to combine handcrafted artisan shoes and modern streetwear style?

It really wasn't a strategic move, it was just what we had to do if we wanted to produce in Spain :)

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

What are the different characteristics of The Rice Co. shoes?

Everything we produce is handcrafted in Spain, in summer we have the perfect espadrille to look more elegant than with flip flops and then for all year long we have the perfect sneaker, a combination of tradition with the highest technology applied to our unique sole. At the same time, we are 95% vegan in our collection as well as sustainable, we are also introducing recycled materials to our collections to protect the ocean from plastic bottles or waste fabrics.

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

What kind of different footwears do you offer to your customers?

We have a full range of products, from the espadrille for a perfect sunny summer day at the beach, to sneakers for your daily life and boots for winter.

How often do you change up your footwear collection? Do you have new sketches on the drawing table?

We change collection twice a year plus some capsule collections.

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

Social media is a new showcase for designer brands. What do you think about the power of social media on buyers' decisions?

Social media is of course in the center of everything, at Rice we’re just wondering what the next Instagram case will be, the current networks are kind of saturated. But is definitely the best way to promote your brand.

How can our readers follow The Rice Co.?

We are everywhere :) Instagram: @thericeco facebook: @thericeco youtube: thericeco and of course our website www.thericeco.com

The Rice Co.

The Rice Co.

Where can our readers buy The Rice Co. shoes?

In our online store: www.thericeco.com, at our flagship in Barcelona (Martinez de la Rosa 16) store or in department stores around Europe and Japan.

What is next for you?

To start selling in the USA.

Thank you Pepe and Mario for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of The Rice Co.





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