OASEAS: You have always worked in the footwear industry and in 2011 you decided to give shape to your very own idea that became a reality in 2014, could you tell us what inspired you to start a fashion brand focused on sustainability?
WOMSH: First of all, thank you very much for inviting me here and to give me the opportunity to share my story. I started in 2011, after a long run in the shoe industry and early on I felt the passion for this product. I then started as a as an agent and worked with very important European brands such as Birkenstock, where I gained a pioneering vision for new brands. After that, I decided to start with my own sustainable project because it was exactly my way of seeing life, society and economy. I directly understood that it was necessary to build a brand that reflected my beliefs and vision. So, sustainability and fashion are the main focus of Womsh.
OASEAS: Could you tell us more about your personal journey with creating this brand, as an entrepreneur? Was it something that you had always wanted to do?
WOMSH: Yes, it was. I always wanted to be the manager of my life and my career. And I think that the way of getting older is to build and have projects to carry over. I am learning everyday something new because it's a job to be a consultant, but it is a totally other job to make a product, decide collections besides building the marketing strategy for your own brand. And I'm very excited because I think that it's my attitude to learn everyday something new. It keeps me younger and more focused on the real time of my life spending, doing things that I really love.
OASEAS: Why sneakers? What is the story behind the product? Why is it so special to you?
WOMSH: Sneakers is the key in the fashion industry, the product that became the most popular tool to communicate our personality and our way of using them. Not anymore sports shoes, they are the product that you can match with an elegant dress, casually through a modern style. Sneakers is one of the most impacting sector in the shoe industry. Every year we produce more or less 12 billion pairs, in fact, the social impact and the environmental impact is really, really huge. And I want to change that.
OASEAS: You portray this very well on your website as you say that “A pair of shoes cannot save the planet. But the people who wear them can”. Could you explain what this sentence means to you and how it represents Womsh?
WOMSH: The word-of-mouth shoes. It means sharing value, their purpose and involve more and more people into this project which I personally feel a very strong responsibility for. I feel the need to pursue change and wish to everyone to find the right motivation of doing positive actions. So, the sneakers alone will not change the world. But we can understand that buying one type of sneaker instead of another or buying a service instead of another can change the world. We as human have a huge power, when we use our money for purchasing decisions, we are bringing our values home. If we want to shape our future, we have to start from our daily behaviour with every small gesture, every small act and know that it is impactful.
OASEAS: Regarding the materials of your shoes, you have a very special process where you use apple skin to recreate leather for the material of your sneakers, what inspired you to create and use such a material?
WOMSH: We were the first company to discover the material. I personally know the founder and we have the exact same vision, so back then I decided to start with him. We made the first small production four years ago, it was really difficult as the first time the material was not fitting the shoe and after 10 days it broke. Today we have the right technology and working together we can say that Apple skin is totally comparable to other materials, and that's incredible. Every day we research new materials, and we now use recycled PET, recycled Nylon; constantly searching for new styles that will draw us in the right direction towards sustainability. Contributing to the circular economy, we use recycled leather coming out from the meat industry but hopefully we won’t find it in a few years because that will mean people are consuming less meat.
OASEAS: Do you have a 5 or 10 year vision for your company that you could share with us?
WOMSH: My first goal is to create a lifestyle brand and not only a shoe or a clothing brand. Potentially creating sunglasses, perfumes, candles and products that could be put under the philosophy of quality, design and sustainability. We want to show that sustainability means to build differently and to add value to the economy by making a difference. I would like to open in the near future a flagship store in Milan, where we can show who we are because Womsh is not just a sneaker brand or clothing brand. We think differently. And by thinking differently is the way we want to manage our approach with people involved in this project. With our retailers, online and offline, and with our consumers, we really want to create a sense of community. The most important thing is that we share these values: each one of us knows how important it is for the planet, because it is the only way we can hope to have a future.
OASEAS: According to you, what is something you wish people knew when buying your shoes?
WOMSH: Oh, I wish that they could see that our story is based out of passion and vision of being inclusive, accessible to as many great customers as possible.
OASEAS: Could you tell us a special moment of your personal journey at Womsh, something special to you?
WOMSH: What is special to me is my team. I really love my people. And I am sure that they feel the same passion I have for this company. So, this small group is my family, actually. And I'm extremely satisfied. I believe in what we are building it's something special, not only on the economic but the human side as well, which is the most important.