Fortress of Inca finds the perfect fit with BigCommerce

Peruvian shoe manufacturer brings traditional
craftsmanship to the modern marketplace

43% 51% 64% 20
Increase in monthly transactions Increase in monthly revenue Increase in sales New retail partnerships

Business goal

Sustain quality at scale

Evan Streusand, founder of Fortress of Inca, focuses on quality above all else. He produces the best handmade Peruvian shoes, embraces ethical business practices, and requires all suppliers to pay fair wages and provide benefits to employees. During a trip to Peru in 2004, Streusand purchased a pair of handmade boots. He had never seen anything like them in the US, and was captivated by their craftsmanship. Inspired by the quality of the shoes and the culture they represented, he returned to Peru and found a bootmaker to help him create his first 100 pairs of colorful women’s shoes.

From the beginning, Streusand invested in building a brand that reflects Peruvian culture and supports artisans. Despite the opportunity to cut costs by moving production to Asia, he instead works with manufacturers in Lima to maintain a connection to the community. “I would feel like I was stealing if I took it anywhere else,” he said. "Peru is where they came from originally — I want to be authentic and I also want to make them in a sustainable way."

By 2010, he had officially launched Fortress of Inca. The brand quickly developed a loyal fanbase, which Streusand attributes to traveling across the country and getting his shoes into brick-and-mortar boutiques. But he recognized the huge growth opportunity of online, direct-to-consumer sales.

Our sales and traffic increased 20% when we moved to BigCommerce.Evan Streusand, Founder

BigCommerce benefit

The perfect platform fit

When Streusand returned from Peru with his first shipment of boots, he built a basic website on his own using Dreamweaver. Then he tried WordPress for his online store, but that still didn’t offer the flexibility and functionality he needed. “Using WordPress was so annoying that we almost immediately started looking for something else.”

Streusand knew that Fortress of Inca needed an optimized website to showcase products both for consumers and retailers looking to carry the brand. He tried BigCommerce and was impressed with the backend functionality and features. After switching, he saw an immediate impact on his bottom line.

“Our sales and traffic increased 20% when we moved to BigCommerce,” said Streusand. “Integrating with other platforms and ecommerce apps is also a huge help. Apps like Stitch Labs and ShipStation, which we use to run our business, all work seamlessly with BigCommerce to help our processes run smoothly.”

Now equipped with the features and functionality Fortress of Inca needed, Streusand knew he could confidently begin expanding his wholesale operation to increase the number of stores offering the company’s shoes. “We still have a lot of ground to cover; there are a lot of places to get our shoes into,” he said. “It’s a big world out there and that’s where BigCommerce comes in.”

Our sales and traffic increased 20% when we
moved to BigCommerce.Evan Streusand, Founder

Big Results

Higher sales, expanded reach

43% 51% 64% 20
Increase in monthly transactions Increase in monthly revenue Increase in sales New retail partnerships

Since launching the new online store with BigCommerce, Fortress of Inca has seen a marked uptick in demand from both customers and retail partners. After its women’s line was picked up by Anthropologie, the website helped Streusand sign more than 20 new retailer partnerships in only a year, including stores across North America, Canada and Australia.

Based on the strong demand and interest in its women’s line, Streusand launched a men’s line of footwear and drastically expanded the company’s addressable customer base. “I got sick of not being able to wear my own shoes,” he said. “We now make some incredible men's shoes, and we want to keep expanding the collection.” He added, “There’s so much opportunity out there. We intend to keep growing and getting better at what we do.”

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