In 2011, Patrick Woodyard took a development job in Trujillo, Peru. While visiting the home of a microfinance client, Patrick met Willan, who was handcrafting handsome, high-quality men’s leather dress shoes. Intrigued by the fine leather craftsmanship in the midst of such poverty, Patrick was even more surprised to find that despite such a quality product, Willan struggled to make ends meet or find consistent work -- and that Willan´s story was in fact not a unique one. Alongside Willan & designer Zoe Cleary, Patrick created Nisolo with the vision of delivering an excellent product to consumers while maintaining the wellbeing of producers at the forefront of the brand’s philosophy.
The Nisolo team is based out of Nashville, TN, with production teams in Trujillo, Peru and Nairobi, Kenya.
Patrick Woodyard, Co-Founder and CEO, graduated from the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he studied Global Economics, Business, and Spanish. His experience with economic development ranges from the Mississippi Delta to rural Uganda and throughout South America. Nisolo was born out of Patrick´s experiences while working in microfinance in Trujillo, Peru, where he met a group of shoemakers who possessed remarkable talent yet lacked access to consistent work, capital, and established markets.
Zoe Cleary, Co-Founder and Director of Product Design, is originally from Santa Barbara, CA and has also spent many years living abroad. The minimalistic and classic designs of Nisolo are largely influenced by her time living in Italy and France and the integration of unique textures and fabrics are the influence of the bold Latin American culture that she has grown to love. Zoe graduated with honors from Willamette University and then completed her MBA in fashion management in New York City. After working for several multi billion dollar fashion labels, she decided to change directions in order to pursue a career she was most passionate about in the social enterprise sector. A mutual friend introduced her to Patrick Woodyard while he was in the beginning stages of Nisolo. After flying to Peru to meet Patrick and witness the talent that existed in Trujillo, it was an easy decision for her to join forces in order to help launch the brand. She travels back and forth between Peru and the US and enjoys getting to see the progress and development on both sides.
Becky Bailey, VP of Finance and Operations. Prior to joining the Nisolo team full-time, Becky worked as Portfolio Manager and then Chief Operating Officer at Agora Partnerships, a Latin American Social Enterprise Accelerator Program, where Nisolo was a client. Becky fueled her passion for utilizing business as a force for good while earning her MBA at the Wharton School, where she was Co-President of the Social Impact Club and an Associate for the Wharton Social Venture Fund. Prior to Wharton, Becky worked as an Analyst and then Associate in the Equity Capital Markets (ECM) division of the Investment Bank at J.P. Morgan, where she helped found the San Francisco Technology ECM practice. Becky holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Smith College. She has traveled throughout the world and is business proficient in Spanish.
Travis Gravette, VP of Business Development, has been an entrepreneur since his first lawn care business in middle school, but a transformative life experience led him to enter the nonprofit world first. A google search as a senior in college landed him at an orphanage in rural Uganda over his Christmas break in 2004. That trip changed his life and he started a nonprofit to support local leaders in East Africa soon after graduating. With strong skills in business strategy and an eye for marketing he made his way back into the for-profit world, but with a mission to use it as a force for good. He has nearly 15 years of business experience working in the social enterprise space, primarily in East Africa.
Daryl Edwards, VP of Production, Peru, began his career as an Electrical Controls Engineer, designing control systems for projects in more than 30 countries. His work brought him face-to-face with inequities all over the developing world, driving him to repurpose his technical skills through an MBA focused on Nonprofit Management and Finance from Schulich School of Business. Daryl deepened his knowledge of business in Latin America through a 1 year internship with Agora Partnerships, delivering a stringent strategic analysis curriculum for businesses located in 4 countries. This led directly to his current role as VP Production for Nisolo, where he leads all operations in Trujillo, Peru, and has grown the team from 25 to 50 people in the last year. Daryl holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering from the University of Toronto, and has an ongoing personal mission to make the perfect shot of espresso.
Willan Ulloa Sanchez, Production Improvement Manager, Peru. Five years ago while working in the workshop in his home, Willan met Patrick and the story of Nisolo began. A 3rd generation shoemaking expert who has worked in the industry for over 20 years, it was originally his high quality leather work that caught Patrick´s attention. He currently heads up Nisolo´s new product development, the training of new shoemakers, and production expansion. Willan has four boys, two of which also work at Nisolo. When not in the factory, Willan works as a preacher in his neighborhood church, where he has had a considerable impact on the community through the implementation of a school and library.
Jhon Mostacero Medina, Quality Manager, Peru, has worked in shoemaking for more than 20 years and has been with Nisolo since its inception. He likes to say that he was born among shoes -- his father was a shoemaker and taught him the trade from a very young age. With an eye attuned to the details of leather and shoemaking, Jhon manages quality control for the entire production process, from the arrival of the leather to the final product.
Eliseo Moreno Romero, Supply Chain Manager, Peru. An early friend of Patrick´s, Eliseo has been with Nisolo since the beginning. He is an energized and passionate person with his heart fully in Nisolo. In his time with the company, he has worked as general manager, his current role as purchasing manager, and just about everything in between. Eliseo is a networking fiend who has built an impressive and valuable web of connections with suppliers throughout the city and country. When he's not in the factory, Eliseo is almost definitely on his motorcycle exploring his native Peru.
Raymond Nyamodi, Production Manager, Kenya, has worked for more than 15 years in the jewelry making business in Nairobi, Kenya. Originally an accountant, Raymond worked for a big artisan crafts exporter before realizing that he enjoyed the jewelry making more than the bookkeeping. Today, he has his own workshop where he works with his wife, Miriam, and 10 full time employees. Raymond is also a big runner and loves to play soccer.