How We Got Our Start
The Casual Workplace was started in the summer of 2017 during a family outing in the heart of Miami as a small, family business with a huge focus on helping the average professional. What was first a dilemma slowly became the foundation of our proud business: high quality and stylish dress shoes for the working professional at an affordable price.
To start, I had a job at a company called "Areas USA" for 3 years. In short, the company runs food & beverage and retail locations at non-traditional establishments. They run restaurants and stores at Airports including MIA, LAX, and ORD. They also run the plazas on the Florida Turnpike. Here I was exposed to a different industry and I learned a valuable lesson. Running restaurants and stores, specifically retail, is very tough to do and requires experience and skill.
Here I also encountered my first dilemma that became the foundation for The Casual Workplace. For those 3 years I had the same wardrobe. My morning routine consisted of finding a new combination from the various shirts and pants I had and to combine it with one of my two pairs of shoes. And not due to the lack of looking. I was just not able to find stylish attire at a reasonable price. Some stores were too pricey. Some stores had poor quality. Other stores had ridiculous styles. I was in a bind.
I spoke to many friends about this dilemma and found that I was not alone. So when I decided to follow my dreams and create my own company I set out to solve a problem I encountered in my everyday life.
At first the idea behind the company was to offer high-quality, affordable suits that would be offered on a "we-come-to-you" basis. In the end, the everyday professional needs to look sharp. This idea wasn't feasible for us for a few reasons. First, all suits need to be tailored which takes time. Second, we were not sure how our target market (millennials) would react to such a service or if the need even existed. And third, the learning curve to enter that kind of business was very steep. The idea wasn't for us.
So we kept brainstorming.
Our second idea came in the form of dress shirts. It was a more casual take from our suits idea but we were not able to find a niche in this market. All price points seemed to be covered with all sorts of different styles. The biggest issue for us with this idea was the "passion" factor. During the few weeks that we were doing research we found that the idea of selling dress shirts alone didn't move us.
The brainstorming continued.
Then in the summer of 2017, during a family outing, I noticed my then future brother-in-law wearing a pair of dress shoes I had never seen before. The top of the shoe was made of leather and resembled a normal dress shoe, but the bottom was made of white rubber and resembled a sneaker. The combination instantly impressed me. I asked the price and regretted it immediately, as it was way over my budget. As we continued our conversation we realized that we could use this as inspiration for an idea for our business. It checked all three boxes we wanted:
- It helped solve the issue I encountered at my job
- We felt we had found a niche not properly served
- We were passionate about the vision we created
From there we created The Casual Workplace and founded our dedication to providing not just high-quality, affordable shoes for the everyday professional, but also accessories such as belts, as we look to continue to add products to our inventory.
From my experience in the retail industry with Areas USA, I know that our future will be tough, but with an open mind and hard work we look forward to the challenge.
Also don't mind the picture. Just me with my business partner/brother-in-law at my wedding reception in December 2017.