Stylist and sandal entrepreneur Anita Patrickson is bringing her West Hollywood Amanu boutique’s signature in-store customization experience online.
“We get so many tourists who book for months in advance, and I thought there had to be a way to bring the experience to them, pulling in technology similar to what Nike ID and Vans use for their sneakers, but for my sandals,” she said, explaining her pivot to address the pandemic’s impact on sales in her Melrose Avenue store, which has reopened by appointment only.
Amanu is offering a web-based customization program (using a Shopify plug-in), that allows customers to follow steps to create their own styles using different materials and colors, with more than 50,000 potential combinations. The shoes ship out with standard measurements within a couple of days, along with a fit card to make size adjustments, and a complimentary two-day shipping label to return for tweaks.
While online customization programs typically take four to six weeks, Amanu is cutting the process down to just a week or more.
“I love that we are marrying ancient craftsmanship with technology — and people can get really creative,” said Patrickson, who parlayed her work as a fashion stylist for Eiza González, Julianne Hough, Michelle Rodriguez and others into a shoe business launched in 2018, inspired both by traditional sandals made using tire rubber in Africa, and the craft of resort sandal-making on the island of Capri.
“One of the reasons I started Amanu was to try to promote the mind-set of conscious consumption, and the idea that when you watch what goes into making your shoe, you want to wear it forever, and not throw it away after a few wearings,” she said, noting that the business model, whether online or in person, cuts down on waste and returns.
Another bonus? Data — both for the brand and the consumer, who can access measurements and fit notes for future purchases. “It will be fascinating seeing what people make,” she said.
On the styling front, the last job Patrickson had was working on Rodriguez’s “Fast & Furious 9” press tour in March. “Thank god I have Amanu,” she said, adding that her income has taken a 90 percent hit since styling dried up. “I’m grateful I have something to build off of, we have loyal customers, and we’re getting new ones. We are doing a big push into online, we hired someone to do digital marketing (we’ve never done any digital spends) and that’s exciting for me. Now, I feel like I’m able to pour everything into it.”