Sabrina Finlay is the CEO of Otabo, an international footwear, apparel and accessories manufacturing company.
She grew up in Asia where family started a shoe manufacturing business producing for major brands including Nike, Adidas, Timberland, etc. Under her father's mentorship, she spent the early years of her career working in various roles on the factory floor - from grading leather and stitching shoes, to designing production equipment and managing factory logistics. The experience prepared her to take on the challenge of building more agile manufacturing models that consider the unique needs of individual brands.
Prior to establishing Otabo as a full-service manufacturer, she ran bespoke and medical footwear programs, and oversaw factory operations and transitions across international facilities for her family’s business. She supported the launch of Asics Foot ID and contracted under Lockheed Martin to help establish a custom equipment program for the United States Air Force.
Today, under Sabrina’s leadership, Otabo is active on six continents and runs production in a network of 50+ factories. She has forged her own path within the rigid manufacturing industry to cultivate a company that is relationship forward, transparent and quality focused. Otabo’s unique approach allows small startups to compete with big brands and big brands to become more agile and efficient.
As a leader and board member at Otabo, Chris has helped drive innovation, process, and culture to transform Otabo from an OEM-focused factory business into a premium, full-service manufacturing business.
For over 20 years Chris has driven innovation and design for organizations across healthcare, energy, fashion, and manufacturing using human centered methods. Most recently serving as Vice President of Member Experience Marketing at UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement where he focused on combining governance, experience design, and analytics to establish and lead the end-to-end member experience strategy.
Chris is passionate about the role of design in problem solving and engaged as a leader in the design community, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Illinois Institute of Design where he earned his MBA and Master of Design. Chris races sailboats when he can, and spends as much time with his family as possible. Friends and family call him by his nickname, "Rocky".
Claire oversees global operations to help Otabo and their clients maximize business growth and efficiency by guiding Otabo and client teams to develop integrated, global teams including strategy implementation, investments, workforce development, and team logistics domestically and internationally.
Prior to joining Otabo, Claire spent 12 years with UnitedHealth Group where she held various leadership positions in global marketing and product development where she developed healthcare products to achieve growth in the U.S. as well as Europe and Asia Pacific markets.
Additionally, she led all marketing activities for the Optum International business line, producing the global innovation showcase and investor conferences, designing and implementing a signature national wellness program, and working as part of the start-up team for the initial launch of the country’s largest Medicare Part D drug benefit program.
Outside of work, Claire can be found gardening in the warm months and hibernating in the cold ones. She enjoys hosting house concerts, her direwolf Zoey, planning home renovations and drinking whisky – not necessarily in that order.
Winnie oversees key aspects of our operations in China.
Winnie helped establish our business a competitive foreign entity in Guangzhou and surrounding provinces and continues to advance our business and vet new manufacturing partners as international policies evolve between the US and China and other countries.
She is in charge of all human resources, benefits, and hiring for our China Team, and provides guidance and general support to our staff at the workshop and factories. Most importantly, she takes care of the office cat, Leo.
Ken manages onsite Development and Production teams in China and supports international facilities effectively integrate with International supply chains.
Ken has played a key role in developing Otabo’s foundational standard operating procedures for how we develop products, exploring new opportunities and innovation implementation in our factories, and works directly with our CEO Sabrina Finlay to design custom supply chains for our clients.
Additionally, Ken leads language and cultural training for our employees in China and, between all of that, built a 3D printer that is currently running in our workshop
Nitya is driving growth and diversification, leading key accounts, and guiding the transformation of quality and development processes.
Nitya is from a family of manufacturers who inspired her to embark on a career in apparel and accessories for some of the most recognizable names in fashion including Michael Kors, Walmart, Le tote, and Lord & Taylor. She has held various senior management roles in development, manufacturing, and quality control that spanned traditional large volume projects to custom development and production at factories from North and South America, UK, EU, Africa, and across Asia.
When not talking "shop", Nitya loves to travel to pick up a new language, recipe, and art as souvenirs. She also will drive distances in search of a slack tide day at the beach, so she can literally swim with the fishes.
Natalie leads finance and reporting at Otabo. In this role she develops financial strategies, planning, and tracking tools used by clients and factories to drive performance, agility, and efficiency. Natalie works directly with client Chief Financial Offices to understand and forecast costs which leads to faster timelines and competitive product launches.
Previously, Natalie used her background in applied mathematics and data reporting to support data-driven decision making and help insurance and collections companies scale. As well as working for clients like the Department of Education forecasting conducting forecasting, planning and analytics across large data sets to increase enrollment in the targeted programs.
In her free time, Natalie enjoys playing with their two cats (one tabby and one small, black bear), their energetic and analytical dog, Cash Flow. Natalie takes special pride in embarrassing the competition in the digital CCG of Hearthstone, playing and winning as Priest, arguably the least powerful hero in the game. Lover of all puns, from bad to terrible, Natalie was definitely somebody’s dad in another life.
Emily manages our US trade team and is focused on understanding and translating client needs to manufacturing capabilities that support speed, quality, and efficient development, and innovation. Emily partners with the finance department to strengthen internal processes and bridge the gap between finance and trade allowing Otabo to easily integrate to client sales and planning process. Emily previously worked as the Quality Control Project Manager at Otabo where she streamlined the Quality Control process and designed custom supply chains for clients.
Prior to Otabo, Emily spent more than nine years in commercial construction project management. Her five years of experience working for one of the U.S. Top 20 Construction firms in the midwest gives her a deep expertise in project management, identify organizational needs, and rapidly implement solutions.
Emily enjoys eating her way through the Twin Cities restaurant scene and considers herself a professional take-out chef. When not listening to podcasts, she enjoys travel, craft cocktails, spending time with her pit bull, and playing a dangerous game of going to “just look” at adoptable dogs.
Jason oversees all global quality assurance, helping guide Otabo factory partners, and clients find success from start of development through final production. With his extensive knowledge of technical product development he makes sure our clients start off in the right direction when starting new projects.
Prior to joining Otabo, Jason spent 16 years with the St. Louis based footwear giant Caleres, with annual net sales that top out at $2.95 billion. This is where Jason developed his passion for fit and quality and his ongoing commitment to responsible sourcing, and sustainability. He held various positions during his time including Model Shop Technician, Model Shop/Testing Lab Specialist, and Sr. Manager of Technical Services. As Sr. Manager Jason owned the fit and QA for all St. Louis based brands, leading the commercialization process, and helping Caleres deliver the strongest, most desired brand portfolio in the market. He worked closely with pre-production teams throughout the world, in 7 different countries to approve the fit and comfort of those brands he worked on.
Jason got his start in the shoe industry in 1998 as an apprentice model maker at St. Louis based Sterling Last Company. Sterling eventually sold to industry leader Jones and Vining, where Jason spent his time perfecting his craft as a last model maker, grading patterns, and visiting domestic shoe factories on a weekly basis.
Outside of work Jason spends most of his time at a softball field or training facility . His daughter plays softball for one of the top select clubs in St. Louis area. He also is an avid hunter, wood carver, and a passionate St. Louis sports fan.
Matt coordinates between clients, vendors, and Otabo’s development, production, and logistics teams.
Matt is instrumental in helping clients achieve their design and production goals, supporting effective communications, and improving processes through every phase of the development and production lifecycle. Additionally, Matt serves as the US point-person for Otabo’s logistics team, coordinating strategic timeline and route planning with numerous, multinational vendors and partners.
Previously, Matt worked in supply chain and data analytics across a range of Fortune 500 companies, shaping key projects and initiatives with his critical problem solving mindset and approach. He leverages that past experience, and eye for detail, to support Otabo’s dynamic and nimble approach to client performance management.
When not figuring out some of the hardest problems for our business, Matt can be found mastering questionably-useful trivia (he competed on Jeopardy! in 2020), building out his tracksuit wardrobe, and exploring as much of the world as possible via his kitchen.
Brendan ensures clients achieve their design and quality goals by coordinating across all parts of the Otabo business.
Brendan focuses on product development, and new materials and processes. His focus makes him an integral part of Otabo’s quality control process integrity and advancement to ensure product meets and exceeds expectations.
Prior to joining Otabo, Brendan designed and directed programs, events, and software design for one of the top tabletop game companies in the world. He holds a degree in architecture and spent his early career as a practicing architect. He uses his design training to identify and realize the critical details of our client’s products in the development process.
You can find Brendan running, hiking, or biking the many trails in Minnesota while the temperature remains above freezing, and snowboarding when it is not. Having lived on three separate continents and immersed himself in various cultures as a young adult, he now spends vacations traveling with his son and watching in wonder as a 5-year old learns about the world.
Tiffany helps clients navigate development and production to bring their vision to life.
Tiffany brings almost a decade of team and client management experience across a wide range of industries including apparel and accessories. Her formal education in Apparel Technologies with emphasis on product development and industrial methods, and Business Management helped prepare her to lead design, development, and production for various brands.
Prior to joining Otabo Tiffany held key roles supporting clients such as Target and Macy's where she worked between the production floor, including managing large production projects, to customer service teams, giving her an end to end understanding of how to connect business goals to consumer experience.
Adam works with key accounts, supporting their needs from first sketches to production manufacturing and every step in between. Adam is instrumental to developing, testing, and ultimately launching client designs to meet their vision to disrupt and lead in the marketplace.
Beginning his Operations career in 2011 with adidas in Carlsbad, California he traveled internationally to work through development and production of golf footwear, including time spent in a factory apprenticeship program that helped him learn the details in person. In 2016, he was selected for two of his innovation concepts to be showcased at an international showcase in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In 2017, Adam pivoted to the Soft Goods team with Callaway Golf and furthered his capabilities by owning the entire categories of headwear, headcovers, and gloves - over 40 skus in total. Most recently, he increased his product range and knowledge through his work at JLab Audio where he worked on earbuds, headphones, and desktop microphones to help establish JLab as the #1 true wireless headphone in the US under $100.
In the Summer of 2020, Adam, wife Nikki, two daughters Imogen and Vaughn, and shih-tzu Goldie relocated to Minneapolis and love exploring their new surroundings. In his free time, Adam stays active playing sports such as golf, tennis, or soccer in the summertime, and skiing or snowboarding in the winter. He also loves setting up his new office space in his mancave, surrounding himself with his sneaker collection, vintage concert posters, and a formidable vinyl collection.
As an Account Coordinator, Abby works directly with clients to help manage timelines and achieve their goals throughout development and production. She is a problem solver and is never daunted by new and unique challenges.
Prior to Joining Otabo, Abby worked for a retail display manufacturer where she managed 100s of replacements and repairs each day across retail stores in the US and internationally. This experience laid the foundation for her attention to detail, as well as a deep interest in the world of manufacturing. Abby also has a background working with animals and spent a few years as a zookeeper working with large carnivores and primates.
Outside of work, Abby spends her time playing roller derby with a local league, so don't be surprised if you see her sporting a few scrapes and bruises. She also enjoys baking, camping, and spending lazy Sundays binge-watching reality TV. When asked how her personal interests influence her work, she answers “I have been wearing shoes for the majority of my life.”
Suki plays a lead role on client accounts and is crucial in our sourcing, construction processes, tooling development and how that all integrates into Otabo’s manufacturing and development timelines. She provides our clients with warehousing and distribution solutions during all aspects of the manufacturing process.
Suki is fluent in the Harmonized Tariffs Schedule (HTS) and works directly with customs agencies on behalf of our clients. She allows Otabo to move products around the world in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
When the development of a new collection is ready to kick off, this is where Zola comes in. Zola is a key liaison between the development team and client to ensure that sample iterations are viable for production. Once the final confirmation samples have been approved, Zola oversees scheduling with factories and work with the team until all final criteria for production and quality control requirements are in place. In addition, she helps ensure that Otabo develops a superior product that meets, and surpasses international industry standards.
Ahping designed and leads our development facility and workshop in Guangzhou, China in collaboration with our mass production team. His knowledge and experience in both complex, handmade shoemaking and constructions, more common to large scale factories, have resulted in an agile workshop that supports the development of a wide range of footwear categories.
In addition to running the workshop, AhPing also leads on footwear materials and production technique training for factory staff in our mass production facilities. Ahping’s background in traditional shoe making balanced with his knowledge of new technologies make him indispensable to client projects.
Return Policy : Education Course
The Education Course is non-refundable. You will retain access to the course for 6 months from date of purchase.
Return Policy : Individual Chapters
Education Course chapters are non-refundable. You will retain access to each chapter for 6 months from date of purchase.
Return Policy : Tools, Templates, and Guides
Tools, Templates & Guides are non-refundable. You will retain access to these materials for 1 year from date of purchase.
Return Policy: Consulting
Consulting hours are non-refundable. Session must be conducted within 1 year of purchase. Rescheduling requires 2 business days of notice.
Return Policy : Documentation
Documentation is non-refundable and must be applied to a consulting session conducted within 1 year of purchase.