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Where ALLY Was Born and How We can Support Small Businesses

Posted on March 30 2020

Where ALLY Was Born and How We can Support Small Businesses
Last week, I saw this video on the New Yorker about Il Posto Accanto, and it broke my heart. It pains me to see all restaurants in NYC struggle to get through this pandemic, but this restaurant is especially personal - this quaint Italian Bistro in the Lower East Side, is where ALLY was born.      
      

Where It All Began

For those of you who didn't know ALLY's origin story, here's how it all began. As a former management consultant, I always had the frustration of finding stylish and pain-free heels. After a foot injury from hiking, I finally had enough and decided to look for a solution. As an industry outsider, I knew I needed experts to help me. When I moved to New York to pursue my idea for ALLY full-time I started on my journey of finding those experts.

The number one on my “wish list” was Jeff Henderson.

jeff

Jeff has a background in mechanical engineering and industrial design. He worked at Nike for 20 years, later as Innovation Director of Cole Haan, and now runs And Them Creative Consultancy. He had everything I was looking for. When I reached out, Jeff suggested that we meet at Il Posto Accanto for our first meeting. 

We bonded over our passion for functional fashion, and our shared appreciation for a perfectly grilled Calamari dish.

calamari

Soon after, Jeff would introduce me to two other amazing women, Dr. Roxann Clarke and Sara Jaramillo who became the founding team of ALLY. We would meet with Jeff frequently at Il Posto, usually with bags of shoe samples, while munching on the delicious food there. 

team

The Cutest Couple In the Cutest Neighborhood

During that time, I also got to know Julio and Bea who are the owners of the restaurant. "Il Posto Accanto", translated to "the place next door" has been the go-to spot for residents in the Lower East Side for the past 25 years. Bea lights up the room whenever she walks in, with her warm and vibrant energy that an introvert like myself can only dream to have. Julio has this chill, non-pretentious sarcasm that always cracks me up. Together, they are the cutest, sweetest couple on earth. #LifeGoals? Yes please.

In a time where I had just left a stable career path to start ALLY, Bea and Julio's warmth and generosity created an almost safe haven for me as an anxious first-time entrepreneur. Not to mention, the always hearty and delicious food there never fails to warm my belly. The restaurant is home to some of the best meatballs and pastas in town, along with a great wine list and open air dining (which I think we are all dreaming about right now.)

food

How Can We Help

As I saw our retail partners and myself scrambling to keep our businesses alive, it became obvious to me that this pandemic is hitting small businesses the hardest. But in times like this, I believe more firmly than ever the importance of supporting one another.

I cannot thank Bea and Julio enough for their hospitality that helped ALLY get off the ground, and can only hope we'll do the same in their time of need. I have personally bought a gift card on Il Posto's website and can't wait to use it when they re-open. If you are a New Yorker looking for a great dining spot or just want to help, please consider buying a gift card on Il Posto's website directly and follow them on Instagram (@ilpostoaccanto) for their re-open date.

We are pleased to share that between now and April 15th, for every ALLY Shoes order, we will include a $25 gift card for Il Posto Accanto. We will buy the gift card on your behalf and send it to you once you place your ALLY order. (If you don't live in NYC, consider your purchase as a small part in giving back to small businesses. Plus you can always share the gift card with your New York friends or use it for your next visit to the Big Apple!)

If there are any neighborhood restaurants that are near and dear to your heart, I hope this blog post inspires you to help them in any way you can. We are all in this together, and together is the only way we can get through this.

Love,

Samantha Dong

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