Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York

Shoeography | Thursday, February 04, 2021 | 0 comments

Every business has a story. Some, however, are a bit more noteworthy than others. And the lucky few are shared on platforms with over 11 million followers, inspiring everyone who reads it and receiving some well-deserved attention.

 Humans of New York, the social media photo series known as HONY that highlights the stories of New York City's residents, recently profiled Atoms founder Sidra Qasim. In an 11-part interview, HONY took followers through Sidra's journey from being a young girl living in a conservative Pakistani household to launching one of the 28 million small businesses in the United States with her husband Waqas Ali. Since the feature on HONY, the couple's footwear brand has seen an overwhelming outpour of support and record sales. They're even offering HONY readers a $30 off coupon for their signature sneakers, enticing even more people to purchase their unique shoes.

Shoeography - Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York

Sidra's story starts with her upbringing in Pakistan, where she was expected to marry and raise a family. Instead, Sidra dreamed of being independent and pursuing her own passions. She was met with roadblock after roadblock, as her average grades couldn't allow her to be a doctor or lawyer and her parents only became more conservative after a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Luckily, Sidra met Waqas. Waqas was her aunt's student and was the only person who would talk to her about the greater world. He always took her opinions seriously and they became fast friends. While Waqas went to study in Lahore, Sidra enrolled in a local college and was one of 15 female students. She reunited with Waqas after a year and a half when he came to a play she put on to raise money to help families affected by a recent flood. Waqas asked her to come to Lahore to become his business partner.

Her parents refused at first but after seeing how depressed she was at home, they let Sidra go to Lahore with Waqas. There they started their first company, Social Media Art. The internet was just starting to shape business in Pakistan and they aimed to help brands create a social media presence online. Although they knew that digital first impressions were 94% design-related and had the skills to help brands, they didn't get much business.

Shoeography - Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York

As savvy entrepreneurs, the couple pivoted their business and started helping a group of local craftsmen market their leather shoes online. After spending time with the craftsmen learning the trade, Sidra and Waqas launched their collection, called Hometown Shoes, online and got their first order soon after. With shipping costs and other expenses of running a business, they struggled to make a profit. The couple had an idea to launch a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $15,000. When they woke up the night after launching it, they had already reached their goal. By the end of their campaign, they were the largest Kickstarter in the history of Pakistan.

Sidra and Waqas reached another milestone when they decided to marry. Devoted to their budding business, the newlyweds skipped over their honeymoon and instead applied to an accelerator program in San Francisco called Y-Combinator. Since the program is incredibly selective, the couple didn't expect that they would be accepted. They had spent years learning about American entrepreneurs, who have engendered successes such as Minecraft which sold 200 million copies in just May 2020 alone, and didn't think their successes stacked up. They were proved wrong, were accepted into the program, and were in San Francisco by the next month.

Their experience in the program didn't go quite so well and showed them that their concept of a luxury leather shoe brand wasn't what consumers wanted. So they pivoted yet again, this time creating a line of casual shoes that you can wear anywhere. The team researched the highest quality materials, gave their notes to a talented designer, and together they built a prototype called "Atoms." They chose this name because they'd gone to the atomic level in the pursuit of quality.

Shoeography - Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York
Shoeography - Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York

With a simple design, Atoms can fit anyone's personal style and be worn to go to the grocery store, to the office, or to a date. They come in quarter sizes to give wearers a more precise fit that results in less strain on the body. The design of Atoms features an insole that cushions your movements, laces you don't need to tie, and an odor-fighting copper thread lining.

All of these qualities have struck a chord with shoe aficionados and novices alike. Within just 12 hours of HONY sharing Sidra and Waqas's story, Atoms had topped their previous biggest sales day by 500%. Their total lifetime amount of shoe sales had increased by 30%. Sidra shared with HONY that she was touched seeing how other women related to her story and the entire Atoms team was in tears because of the amount of support they received.

Shoeography - Atoms Shoes Shares Inspiring Story with Humans of New York

If you want to try out a pair of Atoms for yourself and learn more about Sidra and Waqas's story, you can visit HONY on Facebook or Instagram or go right to the Atoms website.

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