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Álvaro Ocampo and his footwear that leaves a mark

The CEO of the shoe brand Josh talks about the family origin of his venture and tells what is its differential against foreign competition.

Álvaro Ocampo says that he belongs to a family that grew up amid the scent of leather and glue.  / Private Archive

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Álvaro Ocampo says that he belongs to a family that grew up amid the scent of leather and glue. / Private Archive

Álvaro Ocampo says that he belongs to a family that grew up amid the scent of leather and glue. / Private Archive

What is the biggest challenge for fashion brands today?

I believe that consumers are living a reality where values, respect and compassion are evident in every corner of the planet, so, more than before, you have to tune in to people. This means being authentic, responsible, ethical and honest, because the buyer will identify these values ​​in the brands they will prefer. On the other hand, e-commerce is here to stay and it will be vital to learn to function in that environment, which means learning to communicate with customers and understand the new advertising modalities.

What’s the story behind Josh, your footwear fashion startup?

My father, Gerardo Ocampo, was a fighter man, who exercised different occupations. From a school teacher, Ecopetrol operator, police inspector and luggage manufacturer, until he became a shoemaker as a means of supporting his family of seven children. He had a small workshop dedicated to the manufacture of children’s drugstores, in which he was involving his older children. When my father passed away, he bequeathed the trade of shoemaking to his very young sons, and that’s how Josh was created.

How have they managed to establish themselves in the footwear industry?

Passion is the tool that allows you to turn dreams into reality and overcome difficult moments that are crossed in the path of companies. But honesty and transparency are also important, as this is reflected in the product itself. For Josh, the goal has always been to put the best of ourselves in the products we offer to our customers and to use the best raw materials available, as well as to perfect the manufacturing processes. All this requires consolidating a team, which is achieved with stability and solidarity: that is why one of our greatest prides is to maintain a long working relationship with our collaborators.

How have you dealt with the pandemic season?

During the pandemic stage, we found it necessary to get closer to our customers, to find a way to improve brand communication, showing our essence; the idea was for them to see a bit of our people in the product. In addition, the fact of being local allowed us more proximity. On the other hand, offering a great service in our online channel, optimizing the delivery service, and making our sales policies more flexible have helped Josh to hold on even in this difficult time.

What were the results in 2021?

For us, the reference year compared to 2021 is 2019. The first months began with a decrease of approximately 20%, but after the strike they marked a severe setback in the goal of reaching the sales levels of 2019. Starting in June Consumption began to be regulated and in the last quarter we have exceeded 2019 by 15%.

How was the behavior of the implementation of digital channels?

For Josh, e-commerce is a path in constant growth and it is consolidating itself as the most important commercial channel in the chain. Compared to 2020, the growth is 60%. If we compare ourselves with 2019, the growth is 200%.

What are your plans for 2022?

In 2022 we hope to continue growing and open new stores in Valle del Cauca and Eje Cafetero. We are also going to renew our website to provide a better user experience and thus be more competitive. Likewise, we will continue to work hard to be recognized as a Colombian brand that seeks to deliver a differentiated design with the best quality in each of its products.

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