Bi-continental shoe company Nom&Ada is named after its two founders: The "nomadic" Rie Sawai in Tokyo and the "adaptable" Kimy Andrade in Portland, OR. The two met while studying design at Parsons in NYC and remained close friends after graduating in 2004. Five years later they met halfway between their two homes in Hawaii, and when inspiration struck over iced Kona coffee they decided to embark on a joint venture.
The duo recently launched their website and e-Boutique with their debut shoe, the "holoholo" moccasin. In Hawaiian, holoholo translates to "leisurely journey"—an apt name for the comfortable, casual riff on the classic T-strap sandal. Constantly on the move, Sawai and Andrade say they're inspired by their travels and nostalgia, and the crepe-soled sandals are perfect for airline travel, with a pair of tights, or for impromptu hikes on a sunny weekend after brunch.
Despite the great distance between the two business partners, Sawai and Andrade do their best to collaborate as much as possible. "The time difference definitely kills," they said—they even answer e-mails jointly—"but it makes the times that we do get to work together in the same location that much more special."
There are also advantages to having a close friend halfway around the world, saying "It adds different perspectives to our technical and creative process, and gives us an excuse to travel!" They chronicle their finds and inspirations on their blog, which they also write together. "Even though the majority of our conversation is business nowadays, we find a moment or two to catch up on girl talk," they said.
The crepe-soled leather sandals are handmade in Japan and come in black, white and camel—with the camel available with both white and flamingo stitching. They sell online for $260.