Your Neighbor, the Entrepreneur: Michelle Vale and Elena Corsano

Soak Michelle Vale and Elena CorsanoWho’s answering these questions?
Elena Corsano (above right; mom of Matteo and Balthazar, who go to P.S. 234—been raising them on the streets of Tribeca since birth), with Michelle Vale, my business partner, weighing in (also a mom of two, she lives in Battery Park City).

Soak redElevator pitch?
Soak slides are a sleek and innovative sandal, created with custom technology, comfort and arch support.

Intriguing! Tell us more.
They’re designed for a woman’s everyday needs. Soak slides provide an elegant yet comfortable shoe option for city, seaside, and/or country landscapes. Our soles are recyclable, vegan, eco-friendly, comfortable, water happy, stylish, and made in Maine. You can pre-order for the very first pairs of Soaks at a discount through our Kickstarter campaign, which is raising funds for our first production. In the first week, we’ve already sold over 150 pairs.

When was Soak founded?
June 2014.

Where did the idea come from?
Quite frankly the idea came from the streets of Tribeca. We’re both working moms with over-scheduled children, so we’re on the move constantly. We saw the need for a comfortable yet stylish shoe that was a step up from flip-flops. We aren’t prescribing that women give up beautiful heels, but as our podiatrist warned us, “stilettos are dessert”—in other words, they’re meant to be worn for limited hours. Soak is the answer to this dilemma. We set out to create a chic, comfortable shoe. Soaks can be worn to and from the various activities in our lives: work, yoga, cycling, barre classes, soccer practice…. Even for cocktails, if your tortured feet can’t handle one more second in heels.

Why the name “Soak”?
It seemed natural because our slides are waterproof and super comfortable. The literal definition of soak covers both those points. We’ve even coined the term “water happy.” All future products will be have a water-friendly aspect.

How big is Soak now?
We are in our infancy, very much a start-up, but with an A-list team, including the former CEO of Havaianas.

Where is it headquartered?
Design headquarters are in New York, and our factory is in Kennebunk, Maine.

How and where you do see it growing?
We plan on being a global lifestyle brand, including a rain boot for next fall and extending our sandals to include men’s and children’s slides. And also bathing suits!

Any company hangouts around here?
There are so many! For work drinks we love Weather Up and Evening Bar at the Smyth. For dinner, the Greek, Locanda Verde, and Tiny’s.

Previously in this series:
••• Greg Schwartz, Stork
••• Anca Toderic, Huckle & Goose
••• Justin Hsu, MarcoPolo Learning
••• Marjorie Jaffe Goldner, PregPrep
••• Lianna Sugarman, LuliTonix
••• Grace Lee, Nine Naturals
••• Offir Gutelzon, Keepy
••• Lisa Ridd, Smitten Films

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