Athleisure is having a MOMENT. For a less-than-fashionable, ‘plain t-shirts are my thing’ kind of person like myself, this athleisure moment is MINE. Plus, I work at a startup, so I get to embrace this trend every day of the week with gusto. Yeeeoooo.

When it comes to athleisure footwear, sneaks are the way to go, and I don’t mean arch-supporting, marathon-ready sneaks. Stylish sneakers with interesting patterns and textures are the hot ticket item to complement any athleisure ensemble or even slightly more dressy outfits.

Enter Inkkas. They carry mostly shoes & sneakers but also have accessories like bags, belts, and ponchos. I can’t begin to cover all of the reasons why I love this brand, but first and foremost, all of their products are fair trade. According to their website, “The Inkkas company is founded on the principles of fair trade and global philanthropy. Inkkas are crafted with respect for the environment and the people who make them.” They also plant a tree for every purchase made. Pleeeeease forgive me, dear bank account, for spending all of my money on drool-worthy shoes that are helping my planet.

Despite having an incredibly powerful mission, an impressive website, flawless branding, and a strong social following & social presence, Inkkas could spread their message of global responsibility and fabulous shoes a little bit better with just a few key changes to their online strategy.

I’ll break this down into two sections: on their site and off of their site.

Off of their site:

     1. Instagram Stories

Inkkas is crrrrushing it with pinned Instagram Stories. Their content is utter perfection: they use a mixture of still photos and videos, they tastefully incorporate Instagram’s native filters & stickers, they celebrate fans by repurposing their photos and @mentioning them, and they use stories to create urgency around limited edition shoe collections. Seriously, brands, take NOTES.

The one thing that’s missing? The content isn’t super easy to shop from. While it’s great that they’re making use of the Swipe Up link, every link goes to their website homepage, so if you feel compelled to purchase a pair of shoes you see in their Insta story, you’ll have to take the time to search through the pages of their website to find the right pair. Check out the experience below:

This is their 2nd Story Highlight called TropicalMemphis and it’s dedicated to promoting their line of shoes with funky, bright floral patterns. They have a great callout GIF to encourage fans to Swipe Up, but when you swipe up, you’re taken to their homepage. It would be awesome if Inkkas utilized a more direct link here to make it easier for excited prospective buyers to make a purchase.

     2. Customer Engagement & UGC-sharing

Inkkas shoes are made to shine and Inkkas’ fans are sharing stellar shoe content all over social. Inkkas takes time to find content that matches their brand aesthetic and repurposes it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In fact, our Director of Marketing, Melissa Ivone, was one such lucky fan whose photo was repurposed on Inkkas Instagram account.

‪☠️❤️🐶 #SundaySunday‬ • ‪📷: @melissaivone ‬

A post shared by Inkkas (@inkkasworldwear) on

This type of personal interaction with customers is what turns one-time buyers into your ‘ride or die’ customers. This gives you free content for you to share anywhere, a compelling visual testimonial from a satisfied customer, and a digital high-five of thanks to your fans. Inkkas knows it’s important to celebrate fans and repurpose content, but again, it’s not super easy to shop from this content. For example, on their Twitter feed, they have this faaabulous piece of UGC, they credit the user who posted the photo, and they even give the gift of a discount code.

However, the link they’re using sends you to their main homepage. While it’s important to include a link, they may lose conversions on site because you would have to look through the many pages of their site to find that exact pair. Given how adorable these shoes are, they probably worry about selling out, so sending people to the product detail page could be risky. However, using something like a Curalate Showroom link, which updates inventory in real time, would also serve up similar product recommendations in case that eye-catching pair is out of stock.

On their site:

     3. Brand Ambassador Program

Inkkas clearly knows that the best people to help spread their message of great footwear all over the world are real people. They even have an entire page of their website dedicated to recruiting people to become Inkkas brand ambassadors. This is a brilliant way to find authentic voices to share the Inkkas story and gather great content for social and their website. My favorite part about this page? Under “Ambassador Responsibilities,” one of the bullets says, ‘Show appreciation + kindness to everyone — Your actions make the world a better place!” Heart.Eyes.Emojis.

Here’s what’s missing for me: I can’t think of any reason why someone who comes across this page wouldn’t want to become an Ambassador, so I’m just wondering where all of this Ambassador content is living. It would be awesome to display this content somewhere on site — especially on the product detail pages. This is a great way to tap into the irrational side of buying shoes by showing prospective buyers how adorable a pair of shoes looks on micro-influencer @ShoeKween9394.

     4. Fan Gallery

Finally, Inkkas has an Instagram gallery at the bottom of their homepage that features their last four Instagram posts and the header is their Instagram handle, @InkkasWorldwear. Major props to Inkkas because this is exactly what customers today love seeing: lifestyle content! There’s just one problem… the photo links take you away from their website and onto their Instagram page, where you’re not able to make a direct purchase. Inkkas has the right idea — people are attracted to the inspirational content they see everyday on social, but Inkkas risks losing potential buyers if they’re sending folks away from their site and onto Instagram, where they could become distracted by notifications or other thumb-stopping posts on their feed.

TL;DR: Inkkas has everything going for them and then some. They’ve got a great product, an even better mission statement, and they clearly know that lifestyle content and influencers are important. They just need to close the circle on that final piece, which is to make it 10X easier for eager shoe-lovers to shop from their e-commerce store and on social. Keep on kickin’ it, Inkkas!