My thanks to Atoms for sponsoring last week at DF. Atoms is best known for their everyday shoes. Last year, they expanded into face masks. The shoes are cool-looking and very comfortable; the masks are long-lasting and breathable, with a polyester blend outer layer and a copper-lined ionized quartz yarn inner layer offering 85 percent filtration.

At the moment, though, they’re largely sold out.

They’re sold out because Atoms co-founder Sidra Qasim told an 11-part story for the Instagram account Humans of New York that went hyper-viral, and thousands of people who loved her story wound up at the Atoms website buying shoes. It’s a wonderful story — deeply personal, about growing up in Pakistan, building her own life and destiny, and creating a business. A tidbit, from the early days, while she and co-founder (and eventually husband) Waqas Ali were still in Pakistan:

We called our collection “Hometown Shoes.” And after we launched our website, the first order came in right away. It was from a person in France who’d been following our story on social media.

Because we had no way of accepting credit cards, he sent us $85 through Western Union. It was a very big moment for us. We had finally discovered a business that would work. But our excitement only lasted until we got to FedEx, and learned that shipping would cost $120. We were torn about what to do. We considered giving the man a refund, but we had been reading so much about customer service. So we ended up shipping the shoes. It was not a promising start. We’d lost a lot of money on our very first sale.

Anyone who’s ever launched any new product can sympathize.

I (and Atoms) encourage you to read her story. It’s so good. And you can pre-order shoes and masks while they get them back in stock — orders placed now should ship by the end of April.

Sunday, 7 March 2021