We met Guillem Soldevila Elias at this year’s 4YFN event and we were completely taken with his company. He is the Creative Director and Founder of Brand Your Shoes – an innovative B2B startup that allows you to design branded trainers online. After seeing a couple of examples in person, we just loved them.
Today, we got to sit down and talk to him about business, Barcelona and music festivals! Read on because Guillem also gives us some excellent insight into local accelerators, startup support, resources, and entrepreneurial opportunities in Catalonia.
Custom is a new trend and we love Sneakers.
Brand Your shoes is an innovative B2B startup from Barcelona offering a new Branding-Fashion concept. Our service allows you to customise shoes with your logo or design on your smartphone and come away with some very cool, personalised sneakers.
Hubbub Labs’ readers will have free designs and a 10% discount. Contact us to find out more!
Down to business
How did you come up with the idea for brand your shoes and how has this evolved?
The idea struck me after I was approached by the Castellers de Vilafranca, who asked me to design a brand concept and make some personalised shoes for them.
After designing the shoes and making some customisations, I realised we were the only ones offering this service.
Hubbub: And it was a pretty cool idea!
Why do you think the idea has taken off?
We’ve been going for two years, but right from the beginning I saw this as an opportunity to build an international project.
It’s unique and people just love the concept. We’re not tied to any particular niche either; there wide range of clients, including some very big international brands.
Where do you see brand your shoes in 4-5 years’ time?
We are growing and we know that there’s a lot of hard work to be done in the next 2 years. Presently, we’re looking for partners and distributors. We are also working on six to eight new sneaker prototypes for this year.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up a business in Barcelona?
Catalan people are very creative and I think we have an open culture. It’s easy to create synergies with businesses here – and it’s a very cosmopolitan place.
The city has transformed over the last 10 years and today we have one of the most advanced industry sectors in Spain. If you go to industrial places (like 22@Barcelona) you’ll see lots of very interesting startups, design and maker spaces spaces as well as local companies that have developed very strong ties with Europe.
And of course, Barcelona has become a smart city and is well known in the innovation and entrepreneurship sectors.
What resources would you recommend to entrepreneurs in the city?
There are lots of accelerators here, but you should be careful about choosing the right one for your project. I’d recommend getting in touch with 4YFN, which is a good place to get know how they work.
Here are a few entrepreneur-focused resources:
Acció Catalunya – a government initiative to promote Catalan businesses, helping entrepreneurs to find a USP and product fit in an international market.
IMPACT accelerator – this is led by ISDI & FundingBox and offers startups a VC and equity free funding and mentorship for different phases of startup growth.
Barcelona Tech City – Promotes Barcelona’s technology sector internationally, encourages investment, and connects companies with opportunities and talent.
What events people should attend in Barcelona?
Anything related to creativity, graphic design or fashion! I’m very curious and I always recommend researching and going to fairs.
#MWC (the Mobile World Congress) and the 4YFN fair have together become one of the most important events in the city over the last 10 years. An absolute must!
Also check out 080, a popular fashion event in Barcelona.
Design Hub is also very interesting; it displays temporary exhibitions and has lots of excellent designs. And you will see why Barcelona is a design capital.
NewCo. Barcelona – I love participating in this – the organisation gives you the chance to choose and visit selected smart companies and their founders in the city for 30 minutes. It’s hard to pass up!
Rec Igualada – this is a outlet fashion festival full of new fashion designers, young people. It’s also a good day to go shopping!
Then I’d recommend checking out Palo Alto Festival in Poble Nou. It has shopping, food music and fashion, which is a good combination.
I’m also a live music lover. I’m lucky because we have loads of great Music Festivals and events all over the country.
You have to check out SONAR; PRIMAVERA SOUND; CRUILLA; CANET;…and discover the Catalan groups like: MISHIMA; MAZONI, NURIA GRAHAM, QUIMI PORTET, LOVE OF LESBIAN; LA CASA AZUL…
What’s Barcelona’s best kept secret?
CATALONIA! Sometimes we locals take things for granted. Last year I was talking to an Argentinian guy and he was amazed by the fact that you have the mountains, by the sea, or in the city all so close together. It’s a real asset. Discover Catalonia, there’s a lot to see just one hour from the city.
Thanks Guillem! You’ve given us so much to go and research and opened our eyes to a new design-focused Barcelona. Hopefully we’ll catch you at a music festival this year!
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