NS: How did you become interested in setting up a web retail business?
Samira: Cote and Badt is the story of two Spanish friends that met a few years ago in Beijing and then travelled around the globe. We are both passionate about beautiful products, crafted with care from great materials, with a distinctive design and a unique touch. Being reunited again in Singapore gave us the opportunity to launch our new fashion line, bringing our collection of Spanish espadrilles and swimwear to the city-state.
NS: How does your previous experience help you with the challenges of building a new business?
Samira: I have evolved in a professional environment where changing circumstances are the norm. I’ve learnt to be open to new ideas, new trends and new tools, and to be always ready to learn and listen. A certain degree of daring and a high level of curiosity have also proven very useful!
NS: What items do you offer on your website?
Sandra: Our website offers a selection of casual lifestyle apparel. We have the privilege to work with one of the most emblematic espadrille ateliers in Spain, Casa Hernanz. Their espadrilles have been designed and crafted using jute and other natural materials since 1845. This has been a family-run business for four generations and it employs whole families that have mastered the making of these versatile and iconic shoes. Our swimwear collection for women is designed with imported Spanish fabrics by Daniela Castro from WET and inspired by global travels.
NS: Are you constantly expanding your range?
Sandra: Our passion for beautiful objects makes us always keep an eye open for new opportunities and products so our range will develop and expand accordingly.
NS: How does Singapore compare with other countries you have lived in?
Samira: It’s quite a difference! My previous professional experiences have taken me to countries where security, safety, stability, and even access to primary public services, were not taken for granted. Singapore is a country that has kept its authenticity alongside its high levels of development. It has managed to keep ancient intangible traditions and beliefs side by side with advanced technologies and a modern environment. As a relatively newcomer to Singapore, I have felt more like a new neighbour rather than just a simple guest.
NS: Is the climate here ideal for your collection?
Sandra: Our espadrilles are perfect for this climate and for the Singapore lifestyle. Their versatility allows them to be suited for everything from a morning brunch to an evening out, and their distinctive design and great comfort makes them the perfect footwear for the office or for an afternoon stroll. As for our swimwear collection, the warm temperatures here make them essential attire for those who enjoy the beach.
NS: Do you plan to stock any Asian pieces on the website or are you concentrating more on Spanish products?
Sandra: Wearing handmade espadrilles was part of growing up in Spain so working with it came naturally to us. However, our love for beautiful pieces might lead us to include new products in our collection from around this region in the near future.
NS: Have you enjoyed setting up a business in Singapore and why?
Samira: Very much so! Singapore has offered us the opportunity to meet and respond to the needs of a diverse clientele. In addition to the very conducive regulatory environment and the fantastic infrastructure, we have also found a very collaborative entrepreneurial community here.
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