Our Chief Planter fell in love with coconut-fiber around 2013 after he graduated from university in Ohio and returned home to Sri Lanka. Armed with a background in Materials Engineering, he wanted to see what materials he could source from Sri Lanka and supply the world. Similar to coconut water or super foods turmeric, what secrets did we have in Sri Lanka that the world needed to know about. He could arrive at only one answer, Coconut-fiber.
We, in Sri Lanka, grew up surrounded by this fiber. It was in our mattresses, in our dish scrubbers, in so many items but since it's so abundant, coconut-fiber has become very meh and its never given a second thought. But to our Chief Planter all he could see was that coconut-fiber is the BEST sustainable material in the world, where no trees are cut, no food source is redirected and no land is specifically used to grow it. No material in the world can beat this on sustainability. However, the irony is coconut-fiber industries are dying... Coconut fiber carpets are being replaced by synthetic carpets, Coconut-fiber mattress are being replaced with memory foam, coconut-fiber dish scrubbers are being replaced with plastic. Something had to be done to create excitement around this amazing fiber! It took our Chief Planter 5+ years to finally dream up an exciting solution to celebrate Coconut-fiber and help save the declining industry.
In March 2018 he teamed up with a friend with a dumb idea to make Coir Slippers. To tell the world. HEY! We are a great fiber and you should check us out! Not only would this help the planet, but it would also help many families depended on the coconut-fiber industry... The two friends had to learn the art of sandal making for themselves in order to bring the company to life. It was literally quite the painful process. The two friends created the Prototype 1.0 shown below, which utilized coir rope for the straps. The coir rope seemed like a great idea, at first, as it gave an authentic natural look to the sandals but it was quite painful to walk around in (Duh!)... Our Chief Planter walked around in it for a week in hopes of 'breaking in' the sandals but the pain never subsided. But at least on the bright side his feet were very well exfoliated!
Once the initial prototype proved to have some legs, our Chief Planter created many many prototypes (8+ designs and many samples of each), which were battle tested by willing family members, (who risked walking home barefooted) before he arrived at the final design.
Our Sandals are Born
Our sandals final design is inspired from a traditional Japanese footwear known as Geta. We loved their design as we thought it looked both formal and casual at the same time. This design spoke to us about rich history and that we don't need to reinvent the wheel to get out of the sustainability crisis we find ourselves in. We only need look to our past ancestors for inspiration. Coconut-fiber too has a rich history of over 5000 years! (Thank you tropical ancestors!)
Fun fact - flip flops look like our sandals because their ancestors are from Japan as well!)
This is our humble beginnings but no means will we be limited by it. We intend to keep pushing forward and to keep asking "how can we do this better?" This story may have begun with two friends but from this point on, our story will be written by us all.
Come take a walk with us.