Ethical and fair sneakers made in Vietnam. N’go Shoes is a footwear brand first launched in Nantes, France, and created by two long-standing friends we have interviewed. Namely, they are Ronan Collin and Kevin Gougeon, both 29 years old. Such is their plan: for each pair of sneakers sold, they offer a charitable contribution to support education in Vietnam.
Ethical and fair sneakers made in Vietnam
Ronan and Kevin, how did you design your project?
Following a voluntary work experience in Vietnam, together with a Spanish Non-Governmental Organization, we decided to help local artisans belonging to ethnic minority groups. We eventually launched our project in 2017.
What is the current situation?
Our sneakers, which are unisex models, are available in 80 selling stores located in nine countries and in a few prestigious brand shops. Among others, Galeries Lafayette. France is the most important market to our business, then Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Spain. We hope we will soon be able to focus on Italy as well. The final price, recommended to retailers, ranges from 75 to 95 euros.
How much did Covid-19 affect your business?
Well, some retailers cancelled their order because they feared they could not pay for it. The online channel has been working profitably; likewise, there were no detrimental effects on production thanks to the Vietnamese government, who successfully managed to control the overall situation. There were just a few delays in the provision of some materials, to a limited extent though. Furthermore, we could think over a few relevant issues: among others, marketing, branding and transparency strategies, aiming to illustrate more and more our social impact.
You carry out your manufacturing in Vietnam: where do you buy materials?
We make use of local materials (made in Vietnam), leather (chrome-free) comes from Argentina, shoelaces are made of coconut laces and we use recycled paper for packaging. Production takes place in Vietnam. Shoes, which take their names from several Vietnamese towns, have some particulars made of fabric: we designed them to preserve and safeguard handmade weaving work in the country. As regards shoe manufacturing, we rely on three handicraft cooperatives, based in the provinces of Hoa Binh, Nghe An and Dien Bien: almost all of the workers there are women.
Let us focus on the core of the project: solidarity
Thanks to supportive partnership with Sao Bien, a non-profit organization, whenever our customers purchase a pair of sneakers, they support education in Vietnam as they grant a charitable contribution for the building of primary schools. Since 2017, we have already built four schools welcoming over 220 pupils, aged 6 to 11.
What about next goals?
We aim at engaging and helping some more Vietnamese ethnic communities. On top of that, we want to develop N’go Shoes social communication and brand image.
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