Our client Atoms has been featured in Vogue!
Atoms Featured in Vogue
6 · 4 · 2019
What would it take to create the perfect sneaker? In their Brooklyn Navy Yard headquarters, Atoms cofounders Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim have been considering exactly that. The husband-and-wife team started work on the brand in 2018 and have been steadily refining their product ever since. Surrounded by the fruits of the labor, i.e. thousands of boxes filled with their first shoe, the Model 000, Ali and Qasim are poised to disrupt the sneaker market—but first, a cup of chai. “The funny thing was, when we started thinking about this idea, we had no idea how we’re going to actually create it,” says Qasim. “The code name for this project was K2,” shares Ali, referencing the world’s second-tallest, but most difficult to climb, mountain. “By the time we launch, we’ll have climbed it.”
Originally from Pakistan, the couple met while in high school and quickly began nurturing their entrepreneurial impulses. In 2009, Ali and Qasim came across a group of local artisans in Okara who were skilled at crafting dress shoes for men. A year later, they started their first footwear brand, Markhor. “They were five people sitting in that small room, making leather shoes,“ she says. “Somehow we convinced them that we could sell those shoes over the Internet.”
As Ali and Qasim perfected their product over time, tweaking the design and seeking out higher quality materials, the loafers and wingtips they created proved popular. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, they managed to raise more than $100,000 in funding. That achievement was followed by another major coup when they became the first footwear brand to enter the Y Combinator, a seed accelerator that would immerse them in the world of Silicon Valley. “When we came to the United States, we realized that people were buying, but they weren’t wearing them every single day, or [even] most of the time,” says Ali. “In Pakistan, people usually wear leather dress shoes when they go to the office or for work. So, we started questioning ourselves like, ‘Hey, are we doing the right thing here? Are we making the right shoes?’”
Read the full article on Vogue.