SOTO AND CO.
MAKER: RICK SOTO
WHY DO YOU CALL AUSTIN HOME
I originally came to Austin to go to UT. After graduating I moved to NYC for a brief time before coming back to Texas to take a job in Dallas. It wasn’t too long into my stay in Dallas where I figured if I am going to be in Texas I have to be in Austin. Been back for about 7 years and I love it just as much as ever.
FAVORITE SONG/ARTIST/ALBUM FOR A SPARK OF CREATIVITY.
Sheesh. It all depends on my mood but I think if I had to select one album that I can just play out and listen to I would probably select the Jay Z’s Black Album.
BIGGEST DEBATE OF ALL: COFFEE or TEA, BE SPECIFIC ;)
I go with a cold ice tea all day long. I have never really acquired a taste for coffee so if I had to select between the two. Tea for sure
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW FOR INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION
Nike. I have always been drawn to their advertising, branding and marketing. They just get it. I always look at their stuff and try to see how I can apply it to my business.
GO TO MID-DAY SNACK FOR CREATIVE FUEL
Peanut butter crackers
WHERE DO YOU CREATE BEST
I get most of my ideas during my jogs around town lake. I don’t know if it’s the nature or the music or just being a lone a lot of my good ideas and motivation come from the time I get to think on the trail.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BEGIN THE SOTO AND CO ADVENTURE
The idea came to mind back in 2008 while I was in NYC. I always liked to draw and dress well so I figured I would start a necktie collection. I launched the collection back in 2013 while I was working a full time job. Six months into launching I collaborated with a custom suit company in New York and learned the ropes with them. After the drug I was working on lost its patent I volunteered to get laid off, bought the truck and went all in with the custom suits and accessories under the Soto & Co. brand.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT SO FAR OF SOTO AND CO.
Being featured in GQ has to be the coolest thing so far. When I was younger I told my parents, “I don’t know how but one day I’m going to be in this magazine.” To do it in my first year of business reassured me I made the right decision to pursue this journey
HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND STANDS OUT
I think the business model of working of a truck really helps the brand stand out. When people come in I don’t want them to feel like they are walking into a stuffy environment. We have good music on, maybe a game, we sit down and try to uncover their needs and address any issues they have had in the past when shopping for a suit.
HOW HAS SOCIAL HELPED YOUR BRAND
Social media has been a huge part of my business. Most of the business either comes from word of mouth or social media. It has been a great resource to not only reach my demographic but also interact with them.
WHAT OTHER ARTISTS HAVE YOU LOVED COLLABORATING WITH, IF ANY.
We are working on a collaboration with a barber shop out of Houston. We will be opening a brick and mortar location where people can come get their haircuts and get suited up at the same time. It’s going to be a great new concept. Construction has already begun so we are looking at opening sometime next year.
TELL US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SHOPPING LOCAL ARTISTS / BRANDS.
I put everything into my business. I am passionate about what I do and I hope that passion translates to my product. I feel that is something every small business shares and it is special. There is a type of connection and I believe consumers realize that and that is why they continue to shop small.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SOTO AND CO EXPERIENCE
I think what is special about the experience I provide has nothing to do with anything I do. Its about the groom that’s getting ready for his wedding and wants to look perfect for his bride, The young man who got a new job and has never had anything personalized for him or the woman who wants a more masculine cut suit that department stores do not offer. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they try on the suit is what motivates me to open the doors every day.
WHY LAUNCH SOTO AND CO AS A MOBILE SHOP
I think the mobile model compliments the Austin culture. It is different, and it allows me to move around when I need to. At the same time the low overhead allows me to have the most competitive prices on the best fabrics in the world.
HOW HAS THE AUSTIN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED YOU
The community has shown me so much love. I understand it can be tough to trust a guy making a suit out of a truck but people have been taking a chance and they keep coming back so it has been great. I always get asked why Austin and not places like Dallas or Houston? I tell them people love to support small business here and it is a great place to establish a brand name. I definitely have goals to open locations in other cities but Austin will always be home.
WOULD YOU BE OPEN TO A COLLAB WITH A LOCAL AUSTIN ARTIST
Absolutely. I am always open to working with other artist. It doesn’t even have to be limited to fashion either.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT SOTO AND CO.
That the best way to make sure I am at the truck is to schedule an appointment online at sotoandco.com. I feel so bad sometimes because I am not always available at the truck. Being a one man show I usually have several places to be throughout the day. I realized fast I wasn’t maximizing my day while being at the truck for 8 hours so I recently decided to be on an appointment only basis.
WHERE CAN SUPPORTERS FIND YOUR DESIGNS
You can see a lot of my work on Sundays during the NFL Season. Outside of that I think Instagram is the best place to keep up with my work. I am always updating it with new designs, education and locations I will be working at.