This startup raised $120,000 in just 4 days to produce shoes made out of natural materials
The footwear industry often overlooks Mother Nature’s innovative materials in favor of cheaper, synthetic alternatives. This startup thinks it’s time to change that. Allbirds, a New Zealand-based startup has raised $120,000 in just 4 days on Kickstarter to produce shoes made out of natural materials. Why is everyone so excited about Allbirds’ shoes? Allbirds creates the world’s first woolen running shoe specifically designed for sockless wear. You can wear the shoe for a month without smell. Its initial goal was to raise $30,000, the startup ended up raising $119,196 from 970 backers in just 4 days. The response was overwhelming. Their Kickstarter’s campaign was so successful that the startup decided to stop the campaign at 1064 pairs with 24 more days to go.
So, what’s the story behind Allbirds and where did idea come from? It all started when Tim Brown, a native of New Zealand, couldn’t help but notice all the amazing qualities of merino wool. In fact, it made him wonder why such an incredible, sustainable resource had never been used in footwear before. The simple question led him the beginning of an incredible journey to make a revolutionary textile that would, hopefully, create a whole new category of shoes inspired by natural materials.
Merino wool breathes and manages moisture better than any other fiber. The science behind Merino wool is breathability, the ability of a fabric or fiber to transport moisture in the vapor state from an area of higher humidity to an area of lower humidity. In other words, the more breathable a product is the better it is at removing moisture from the microclimate (the space between your skin and the garment). As your body heats up, the moisture vapors will be absorbed by the wool fiber, and released to the drier environment outside of the fabric; releasing heat and keeping the wearer dry and comfortable. A Merino fiber can absorb and retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch.
After many years of researching, testing, Kickstarting, and chasing his vision, Tim teamed up with Joey Zwillinger, a San Francisco based engineer and renewables expert. Together, they partnered with one of the world’s great Italian textile mills to create an innovative wool fabric made specifically for footwear, and successfully designed the most comfortable shoe imaginable. The shoes are developed from a proprietary material made of ultra-fine New Zealand merino wool, which is produced in a famed (shall not be named) textile mill in Italy. Its rubber-blend outsole is also proprietary and designed to reduce raw material usage while providing high comfort. It is also machine washable.
A visit to their Kickstarter page also shows that the shoes were sold out in just a few days. Allbirds’ shoe has been named the softest shoe on the planet. It provides the pure comfort for runners. The $95 shoes for men and women are available in five colors (charcoal, green, navy, light blue and red) and can be purchased online only. The company also has a generous return policy that provides peace of mind to customers. Besides it provides free shipping and a 30-day guarantee or get your money back.
Allbirds has been covered by major news outlets including New York Times and CNN. “We took the next 30 days to get alignment,” Zwillinger told CNNMoney. “We did that by writing a pretty big business plan. It was like a 25, 30-page business plan. We really never shared it with anyone but it was about Tim and myself dialoguing and building a great partnership.”
See the video of Allbirds journey here.