Undercover: A dream of a life time!
Have you ever found something that keeps you daydreaming and awakes every sense inside you? If you haven’t, let me inspire you with the story of Mary Quintero, that at the same time is the story of a dream come true: UNDERCOVER.
Some years ago, Mary woke up one morning and decided it was time to take a sabbatical year from the job she had been doing for eleven years of her life. That was the moment where the idea of creating Undercover came up to her mind. All her life, she had been using rain boots from all kinds of styles, but something was missing, and she thought it was the perfect moment to turn the concept that most of the people had about rain boots into something ‘unique’.
Undercover started from the very bottom, but what made the difference was that she decided not to put any limits to her dreams and never let the fear of failure win the battle. The first sketches were drawn on a napkin, it was a funny fact, because at that moment she wouldn’t even imagine she had finally found the project of her life. Then, the difficult part of the journey started, what would make Undercover different from most of the brands?. The answer was not easy to find, it took some time, but finally it was evident. Each design would give to its owner the opportunity to take with them a piece of culture, art, fauna and flora of many places around the world and ‘that’ would definitely be the brand’s essence.
At the beginning, the dream started with the idea of creating only original rain boots, but at the end it turned into a purpose of becoming a brand that gives you the opportunity to collect unique memories and the chance to travel for a little while around the world by using their designs. The partnerships with recognized artists were a key factor to achieve this goal.
Undercover’s first store was located in 50th street, one of Panama’s main avenues. Here, the brand gave its firsts steps and started to be recognized by the local people, but from the very beginning the plan was to give it an international exposure. The decision was to move to Casco Antiguo, and boy was it a good move because tourists totally loved the concept. Since then, Undercover started growing in order to consolidate as a global brand one day.
Meanwhile, Mary surrounded herself with people that could help her to boost the brand and the UC family grew up progressively. The alliances were a significant step along the way. Finally, after a hard work in 2018, DHL Express Panama gave Undercover the SME Award of the year to successfully achieving the dream bringing a piece of the Panama’s culture to the rest of the world. Afterwards, she was also finalist at the Entrepreneur Award of INCAE, which promotes entrepreneurship in Latin America. This program was an experience that allowed her to get a lot of knowledge about how to take the business to the next level.
The evolution of the brand can be described by the story behind the inspiration of each design. The first boot was called Tembleque and it’s inspired in the Panamanian women head ornament used in their national dress. One of the favorites designs is the Guayacan’s which was born in honor to Panama’s official tree that flourishes only for a couple of days during the year. This design embeds the shape of this tree with many leaves falling around and in its back you will find the phrase: “belleza fugaz, recuerdo eterno”. Which means “fleeting beauty, eternal memory”.
The City Of Colors collection was a product of a trip made to an international business round in Chile. When Mary first saw Valparaíso she instantly knew she needed to recreate the rainbow of colors that surrounds this city in her new design.
Many artists have brought to life the different concepts behind each rain boot, but one of the favorite’s collaborations was for sure the one made with Eduardo Navarro whose design Live Free, absolutely catch the perfect definition of the life’s meaning in a footwear: everyone paints their freedom with a different explosion of colors.
Finally, the idea of the rainkers came up in the first trip that Mary made to China in 2018. She visited the Canton fair, which had approximately 10.000 stands and she found successfully the perfect design for her next collection. The rainkers are the ideal match between a conservative and modern style, and this versatility made them the top seller product of UC until today.
The story of Undercover has many more chapters waiting to be written. What comes next? We don’t know yet, but what we do know is that like Mary says “when you find your purpose in life it becomes more than a simple project, it becomes part of your essence and your family”. And that’s definitely the meaning of Undercover to their team and customers.