Hey Eco Beauties! Today I’m bringing you a very special post. I’ll be talking about two Eco, Canadian Kickstarter Campaigns that are close to my heart, both of which I hope you will see the value in and support! I want to tell you about Cocoze Coconut Fibre sandals and Salts Clothing’s Summer Collection. I’m going to start with Cocoze, and it will get a little long winded, so here are some links if you want the quick facts on both of these amazing brands.
Click HERE (and scroll down to see the photos of my in my gorgeous Salts dress!)
First up, we have Cocoze Coconut Fibre sandals. Founded in Nelson, B.C. by Pierre Thomson, the idea behind these sandals is that the base of the shoe is made of coconut fibre, bound with natural rubber. I met with Wayne from Cocoze recently, and was so excited to learn the brand story and receive some pairs of these awesome shoes- I’ve been wearing them around the house, in the garden, and can’t WAIT to break them out at the beach this Summer! The beauty of these shoes is that not only do they look rad and feel totally comfy, but they also (seriously!) exfoliate your feet over time. I’ve been wearing mine nearly every day for a month, and have noticed much softer and smoother soles on my feet as a result. My other half has had the same experience, and we both adore our Cocoze!
So why Kickstarter? Well, because Cocoze have evolved- Pierre and company are now envisioning the next phase of Cocoze- an entirely biodegradable shoe with the fabric on top made of hemp and flax (as opposed to the cotton with some synthetic foam backing). As you can imagine, this is a costly endeavour, hence the Kickstarter Campaign, which I hope you’ll support!
Here’s a brief interview I conducted with Pierre, to give you more of a background: Q: Where did the idea for coconut fibre shoes come from? It’s so unconventional!
A: The idea for the shoes came to me when I was living in Nelson, BC. We were using coconut fibre for a couple of years for agricultural purposes. Coconut fiber is a great soil builder as it helps retrain moisture and aeration in the soil. It also contains one of the strongest natural rooting hormones so it creates stronger growth and higher yields. We started experimenting with it by making dish scrubbies, bath mats etc. One day sitting at my kitchen table the idea to make a shoe from it was born and since then my life has revolved around making the best possible shoe I can.
Q: What do you want people to know about Cocoze?
A: I want people to know that Cocoze are the world’s most Eco friendly shoe. We have now made a shoe that is 100% natural, sustainable and biodegradable. The benefits of wearing the shoe is that it creates a natural footbed for the sole that gently exfoliates the feet and stimulates nerve endings. The soles of our feet have the largest pores on our body and the shoes help to naturally open these pores. All other footwear actually impedes this by having an artificial sole that is made from semi toxic materials such as PVC and EVA. Cocoze have created a shoe that leaves feet soft, healthy and beautiful. I use to have dead skin and fungal buildup under my toenails but after wearing these for a couple of weeks I noticed that my feet were becoming healthy with no dry dead skin and no fungal build up. Coconut fibre has many properties that make it perfect for footwear. It is anti-bacterial and anti fungal which keeps feet healthy and door free. The fibre is also thermoregulatory so it insulates when it is cold and cools when it is hot. It is also salt water resistant so human sweat does not degrade it.
The fibre also has the highest tensile strength and abrasion resistance of any natural fibre so it creates a durable shoe. Coconut fibre is also very eco as Sri Lanka (one of the biggest producers of the fibre) has 75% of their fibre going to waste. I hand make all our shoes in Thailand at a small factory we share with a shoemaker there. At present I still supervise any runs of shoes made and do a lot of the work myself. Friends come from Canada to help and we are working to set up a production line so that everything will move forward smoothly in the future. There has been a lot of experimenting and prototypes involved to come up with the right shoe. No one has made shoes this way so we naturally have to devise the best method possible to make a shoe that can compete in todays marketplace and be the best shoe we can make for the customer. In doing our R&D we have come up with a method of manufacturing where we use no dyes or toxic chemicals.
The most interesting part of our manufacturing is that we have zero waste, any fibre left after die cutting can be immediately recycled into new shoes. The shoes are also hand made so use a very small amount of energy to create them.
Q: You appeared with the shoes on Dragon’s Den, and were offered the sum you were looking for, but the investor wanted fifty percent of the company. You turned the offer down. Why?
A: I turned down the offer on Dragon’s Den because I did not want to give away half my company for the amount offered when I already had other investors willing to help out for a much smaller piece of the pie.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge with Cocoze?
A: The biggest challenge we have faced is creating the perfect shoe for the consumer. A stylish shoe that is 100% natural and biodegradable and that we can make for the right price points to compete in the marketplace. I have literally made 1,000’s of prototypes to come up with the shoe we now have. What we have created through a lot of trial and error and blood, sweat and tears is a new type of footwear that is healthy for the consumer and great for the planet in all aspects from manufacturing to the fact you could bury the shoe in your garden when you are finished and it will actually be beneficial to the soil.
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
A: The thing I love the most about what I do is the challenges and the hurdles we have overcome to get where we are today. I have traveled all over the world to try and make these things and to make them in the most eco friendly manner possible. The shoes I am now making are ready to come out into the world and I feel confident that I have made the best possible shoe I can. Somehow I have created a shoe that is good for people and also good for the planet. What we have essentially created is a shoe with a 100% natural surface that imitates walking barefoot. People are now into grounding, I feel our shoe does this but it also benefits in other ways to make this really something special and extraordinary and this is what I love.
Q: Tell me about the Kickstarter campaign. Why you launched it, how people can help, and why they should.
A: For Kickstarter we are creating a project that incorporates all our goals in making the perfect eco shoe. We now have everything in place to make these. We will make the worlds first 100% natural, sustainable and biodegradable shoe and we will manufacture this with a goal of zero waste and the smallest carbon footprint we can. Footwear is something that there has not been much of a radical change in, we believe our shoes offer consumers a new radical choice in footwear that will not only benefit them health wise but will also benefit the planet. We are essentially offering consumers a new choice in footwear hand made from materials that have been with us since the dawn of mankind.
Q: Who is Cocoze’s ideal customer?
A: Our ideal customer is someone who cares about their own health and the health of our planet. The shoe works best as an everyday flip flop to wear wherever you already wear flip flops. It can also be worn as a slipper around the house. Our ideal customer would be a 30-50 year old female that cares about how she makes her purchases and wants the best for herself and the planet. Here are my beautiful Cocoze shoes, along with my hubby’s:
And here is what the new, improved, all-natural and entirely biodegradable shoe will look like:
I can’t wait to get my new Cocoze! Let’s be serious, shoes made of coconut fibre, hemp and flax sound pretty freakin’ cool. Find out more at http://www.cocoze.com, or better yet, click HERE to help with the Kickstarter campaign and get early dibs on discounted Cocoze!!
Now I want to talk about ANOTHER Canadian Kickstarter project. Salts Clothing, based on Vancouver Island, is run by an amazingly inspiring and talented woman named Jenny Graham, who designs clothing that balances comfort and versatility with elegance, style and Eco-friendly value, materials and practices. Jenny has just launched her Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of her STUNNING Summer Collection, and you can help HERE to claim your discounted pre-sale clothing pieces. And trust me, this is something you want to do.
Want proof? See the photos below of me in my Salts Destiny Dress, which I have pretty much been living in. Also, check out http://www.saltsorganic.com and read my article and interview with the lovely Jenny HERE. Funding independent, Eco-friendly projects is so important, and I hope this post has brought something you find valuable and interesting to your attention. I strive and work very hard to bring light to brands and artisans I believe in and I truly want these amazing brands to see every bit of success they deserve!