Everyone has a dream. No matter the scale, they shouldn’t be taken for granted. What if your dream was your own skate shoe company? Sounds too grand to be true right? But if you take the necessary steps in knowing about your chosen field, you’ll get there soon enough. Enter Nice Quilantang of Label Shoes, honing his skate and entrepreneurial chops, he has managed to get his brand off the ground with affordable and functional footwear made for skateboarding.
A few days ago, we caught up with him and asked about his brand, his love for skateboarding and yes his humble beginnings.
Sit back, relax and read on…
Can you tell us how Label Shoes came about?
Label Shoes was born out of curiosity, challenging my self to fulfill a lifelong dream. When I was a kid, I grew up from a below middle class family and we just made ends meet day by day. We didn’t have the luxury to buy sneakers when I was younger. I used to play and join the inter-barangay basketball competition without any shoes of my own.
I would join basketball leagues using borrowed shoes or school shoes. I remember during one game I was made fun of because I was wearing mid-cut school boots- batang 90’s style. I told myself if I had the chance to build and create my own shoes I will do it.
Luckily I was introduced to skateboarding during my Highschool days. Skateboarding was really a thing for me that I got good at it fast. I started winning local competitions back in 2004.
I was actually making a name during that time, that’s why I got sponsored by a local shop in 2006 also won almost all national competitions. That gave way for me to be noticed by DC Shoes I got onboard on DC’s International team for Philippines 2008 to 2016, paving the way for me to compete outside the country multiple times and represent the country for World Championships twice.
2008 also is the time that I was contemplating if I wanted to pursue my career in skateboarding or finish my engineering degree. I ended up being an Engineer by day and a Skateboarder by night, playing 2 roles in one.
I think that mindset actually opened up my entrepreneur blood in me where I used my influence in skateboarding and build a skateboarding business distributing and retailing skateboard merch called Quilla Skate Shop.
Label Shoes would materialize around 2018. I was using my day job as an engineer to finance my skateboarding business as I didn’t have the financial means to pull Label shoes out of its early stage during that time.
Also the name “Label” comes from millennials like us being tagged or being labelled for almost anything and also from Chance the Rapper’s song line ” No problem” which you’ll hear at the beginning of the song. So in short Label was born and its roots really come from the streets.
How does the design process go when it comes to having shoes manufactured? Do you go through a long process in making sure they withstand tricks and beatings?
The main designer is actually me. I actually use my engineering perspective when designing shoes usually it gets boring if it will be me 100% because I am more on function rather than aesthetics that’s why I am very proud of my team because they challenge me a lot.
On the manufacturing side of things before we outsourced it in a locally but problem is we can’t control the quality and design especially the materials since sneakers are not common to be manufactured in PH.
We don’t have the modern machinery and skills as an option so that brought me into a realization that if we wanted to scale up we need to be all out and build our own modern shoe factory.
We have our own skatepark to train and test our products so shoes are technically being tested by real skateboarders on a day to day basis before selling it. Since we use modern machines we can create prototypes fast and do lots of R&D with materials.
We create our own process and modernize it by combining methods traditional and new.
With you being a skateboarder yourself, what is it that inspired you to create your own shoe brand?
‘Cause it was all a dream. Basically I’ve dreamed of it since I was a kid and now I am just fulfilling my dream. Along the way, I wish to make an impact or rather a footprint in the shoe industry locally and internationally.
Who do you sponsor in the local scene? How do you pick personalities to endorse you?
It was always my pledge to give back. My brand is me and those people who supported me from day one. I want them to realize that they did the right choice in supporting me.
This is my humble way to pull up those individuals whom I think has potential to be the best with the right attitude.
That’s me being a team player inspiring those I support to challenge themselves to be better daily.
Can you tell us about your latest shoe creation? The N1 v2.0?
The N1 v2.0 is actually my 2nd version of my Pro Shoes. That’s basically my team improving my OG version without my approval. But it turned out great, it’s a piece of art!
I am really proud of my team who managed to exceed my expectations.
What shoe brands do you look up to for inspiration?
Of course, I am fond of DC Shoes since I used to ride for them. I set my standards around them with every shoe we make. For marketing inspiration, Nike is the real deal. We base our shoe designs depending on the pro it’s being designed for. I want each shoe to match the person’s personality.
Describe Label Shoes PH in one sentence.
Can it be two? Built by skateboarders and proudly Philippine made!
Shoutouts? Stuff to promote?
I would like to thank my team thank you for helping me fulfill my dream. Thanks for all your sacrifices especially at times like these.
My family: my wife and son, thank you for being my inspiration for everything.
To my friends, my day 1’s and God thank you so much for all the support and answered prayers.
And we also cater one stop shop shoe manufacturing for those brave souls that wanted to create their own shoe, sandals and leather goods brand. Message us here.